[EDITORIALS]Roh should disclose funds

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[EDITORIALS]Roh should disclose funds

The prosecution’s investigation of presidential campaign financing was triggered by the SK Group’s off-the-books funds, and now it has become the catalyst for political reform. For this positive development to become anything substantive, a rigorous investigation by the prosecution is necessary. It should not leave a doubt in anyone’s mind. And the scale of illegal campaign contributions must be uncovered. Then we can set the right direction for political reform that can sever the ties of collusion between politics and business.
But the direction of the prosecution’s investigation leaves us concerned. It is true that the attitude of the prosecution is quite different from the past. But the Grand National Party has characterized the prosecution’s indictment of a former personal secretary of President Roh Moo-hyun, Choi Do-sul, as an attempt to downplay a serious abuse of authority as a personal impropriety. The prosecution and Mr. Roh must give some serious thought to the opposition’s query of whether the case that shook the president himself was just a personal impropriety.
The prosecution has called Seon Bong-sul, a personal friend of the president, just once and remains unable to verify the suspicion that he received 200 million won ($169,000) from Mr. Choi. We ask whether that was all the prosecution would have done if it were someone other than a friend of the president. That is why questions linger on whether the prosecution can remain impartial in the investigation of presidential campaign financing and whatever money may have changed hands after Mr. Roh’s election.
There is the question of whether those who testify would be fully forthcoming. Will businesses feel comfortable about making a full report of their contributions to an administration that still has four years to go?
It is up to the president to resolve these questions. He must immediately make public the accounts of all the campaign contributions and post-election donations and give the prosecution what it needs to work with. That will provide a lead to the kind of work by the prosecution that the public can trust. It is decision time for the president.
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