[EDITORIALS]Stop the political meddlingThe independent counsel, Song Doo-hwan, summoned Park Jie-won, former presidential chief of staff, speeding up its investigation of the cash-for-summit scandal. The special counsel indicted Choi Kyu-baek, former head of the planning and coordination office of the National Intelligence Service, and Kim Yoon-kyu, president of the Hyundai Asan, without detention. It said, “We suspect that 14 suspects, including Mr. Park, colluded to send money to the North. The statute of limitations will be extended.” It is thus clear that the focus of investigation is moving closer to core members of the Kim administration.
As investigations aim at the main culprits of the scandal, strange things happen in the political community. Some try to draw a line in the investigation for a variety of reasons. President Roh Moo-hyun, in his press conference Monday, said, “The independent counsel will not do two things, in view of their political nature: damaging inter-Korean relations or making a political evaluation of the South-North summit meeting of June 2000.” That was an inappropriate remark because it could influence the counsel’s investigation. The president, who appointed the special counsel, must help him investigate fairly in accordance with law and conscience.
Justice Minister Kang Gum-sil said, “The president should have vetoed the independent counsel bill.” It was not proper for the justice minister to squeeze the independent counsel like that. Some Millennium Democratic Party lawmakers went even further. Thirty of them said in a statement, “We worry because the special counsel put priority on prosecuting those involved, thus employing legal provisions one-sidedly.” The floor leader, Chung Kyun-hwan, said, “Overzealous investigation by the independent counsel is tantamount to judicial terror against North-South detente.”
The independent counsel investigates suspicions and illegalities involved in the secret transfer of money to North Korea under a law promulgated by the National Assembly. Its duty is thorough investigation. Judgments will be made by courts. Politicians should stop harassing the independent counsel.