[EDITORIALS]A thorough investigationThe prosecution’s investigation into the slush fund allegedly funneled from the SK Group to the political community has brought huge political repercussions. In connection with the charge that his close aide and former presidential secretary for general affairs, Choi Do-sul, is connected with the slush fund scandal, President Roh Moo-hyun announced that he would seek the people’s confidence on his presidency.
According to the prosecution’s investigation, Mr. Choi is suspected of having received about 1 billion won ($870,000) from SK Group. Lee Sang-soo of the new People’s Participatory and Unity Party and Choi Don-woong of the Grand National Party are said to have received some billions of won and around 10 billion won, respectively. As Mr. Choi, who was summoned by the prosecution for questioning yesterday, refused to comply with the request, the investigation is not making progress.
The president’s statement could be a burden to the prosecutors who are working on the case, but they should not be daunted by power. Furthermore, they should not try to cover up or minimize their investigation results. If they do so, the hard-earned people’s confidence in the prosecution will be foiled and it will be criticized as a “political prosecution” again.
The prosecution must investigate the charges raised against presidential aides, including Mr. Choi, thoroughly. It is necessary not only for eradicating corruption and irregularities, but also for the president to perform his duties as the chief executive. It should consider the situation that Lee Kwang-jae, presidential secretary for information and policy monitoring, is also suspected of accepting bribes, although he denies it.
Politicians summoned by the prosecution must cooperate with the investigation, so that the truth related to the scandal is clarified thoroughly and swiftly. Representatives Choi Don-woong and Lee Sang-soo must appear before the prosecution and testify about their innocence, instead of making such excuses as, “I received no money from SK Group,” or, “The party issued receipts for the whole amount received.”
The way the prosecution handles the case will be a yardstick to gauge its political independence. The investigation team must keep in mind that maintaining the neutrality of the investigation is the only way to save the prosecution.