[EDITORIALS]A confession is in orderThe court has handed down a guilty verdict in the trial of a defendant charged with misappropriating intelligence agency money for the 1996 election campaign of the then- ruling New Korea Party. The first trial revealed that some 85.6 billion won ($74.4 million) of the agency’s budget was funneled to the party during that time.
The Grand National Party, which sprung from the New Korea Party, strongly denies the charges, claiming that the money was political funds passing through the agency’s accounts. There will be appeals to and verdicts by higher courts, but it seems clear that there were money transactions between the agency and the party.
If campaign funds amounting to hundreds of billion won were given to the party, common sense says that it must have been done with the knowledge of the government. But those who were at the center of political power at the time are not talking.
First of all, former President Kim Young-sam must confess the truth. If the funds came from the budget of the National Security Planning Agency, now the National Intelligence Service, he must apologize to the people for failing to supervise the agency well. He should also make clear whether he tacitly approved the transfer of the money or gave the direction himself. Even if the sum was part of political funds, as is claimed by the Grand National Party, the result is the same. Since the party laundered political funds, using the agency’s accounts to make them difficult to trace, the nature of the crime is one of abuse of power and deception.
Mr. Kim is said to have uttered, “A political trial should be fought by a political struggle.” He really does not see the beam in his own eye, pointing out the splinter in the other’s eye.
The Grand National Party’s plan to vote against Kang Sam-jae’s resignation is an error. Mr. Kang, the party’s secretary general at the time of the alleged wrongdoing, resigned to take political responsibility. Mr. Kim and other core party members should confess the nature of the money and how it was raised.