[EDITORIALS]Much remains to be knownIt is frustrating that a second bill providing for an independent counsel to investigate the alleged 15 billion won ($12.5 million) gift from Hyundai to the government was vetoed by President Roh Moo-hyun. Unlike the investigation into the cash-for-summit deal, a controversial subject regarding policy decisions, the second independent counsel bill was supposed to address allegations that a powerful figure from the former administration exploited his position for personal, or political, gain. The case of the 15 billion won slush fund must be completely investigated, and wrongdoers should be punished.
The Grand National Party is partially responsible for the failures in this matter. The opposition party had agreed to cooperate with the ruling party in handling the bill, but it pushed the bill through the assembly on its own. Although it was foreseen that Mr. Roh would veto the bill, the GNP increased the possibility of the veto by suggesting money could have found its way into Pyeongyang’s nuclear experiment. Such a premature move has made it impossible to investigate Hyundai’s slush fund through an independent counsel. The GNP took the action because of internal discord. It is like giving up on a second independent counsel bill to cover up internal discord. Now, it cannot complain that the president vetoed the bill.
The investigation into the transfer of $500 million to Pyeongyang was completed by the first independent counsel. To find out whether the money was used by the North to develop its nuclear program, Pyeongyang needs to be investigated. Considering that questioning Pyeongyang is beyond any independent counsel, President Roh seems to have made the inevitable choice by exercising his veto.
A second independent counsel has been foiled, but the 15 billion won slush fund, which would be an anti-state crime, must be investigated. Mr. Roh has acknowledged the need to find the truth. Therefore, we only hope the prosecution will reveal the whereabouts and the flow of the money, the people involved and how the money was used, and that the law deal with all of allegations.