[EDITORIALS]Don’t harm the economy

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[EDITORIALS]Don’t harm the economy

At a monthly economic forum sponsored by the JoongAng Ilbo on Thursday, Kim Jin-pyo, the deputy prime minister of economy and finance, expressed concern that “Korean companies will not increase their investment if the prosecutors do not wrap up their investigation of the country’s largest corporations soon.” Only large businesses have the potential to make investments, but they are putting off plans because they are being investigated on charges of providing illegal political funds during last year’s presidential election.
How can these firms manage their businesses if their executives are called before the prosecutors frequently? One company even turned off all its computers for fear that its offices would be searched and the information stored in the computers confiscated. Under such circumstances, the corporations that plan to hold their shareholders’ meetings in March cannot entice foreign investment.
If business management becomes transparent, it can be helpful for business in the long run. But if the already ailing Korean economy is further harmed by the prolonged “hands-off” situation, there is no use in having good medicine, no matter how good it may be.
As the situation appears now, the independent counsel will be investigating the alleged irregularities of President Roh’s close aides until two days before the legislative elections in April, and the prosecution will be competitively investigating illegal presidential campaign funds.
The truth must be clarified, but the investigations must be concluded as soon as possible to minimize the burden on the economy. But it cannot be done by the prosecutors alone. The ruling and opposition parties must disclose details of their election funds as promised. That will help to conclude the investigations as quickly as possible.
Delaying disclosure is cowardly. It would be committing another crime, that of harming the national economy. Our economy should not be held hostage to politics again. We should not leave our economy ruined by a dirty political struggle that will go on until next year’s elections.
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