[EDITORIALS]A call for an investigationThe prosecution has requested a warrant of detention for Ahn Hee-jung, a former aide of President Roh Moo-hyun and a member of Our Open Party, on allegations of accepting illegal political funds. The request for Mr. Ahn’s detention signifies that the investigation is closing in on the former members of Mr. Roh’s team for last year’s presidential election. Mr. Ahn was called Mr. Roh’s right-hand man and, along with another former presidential aide, Lee Kwang-jae, is perhaps one of the president’s closest aides.
The allegations against Mr. Ahn so far include receiving 1.14 billion won ($1 million) from various firms including 100 million won that Mr. Lee has admitted taking from the chairman of Sun & Moon, Moon Byeong-ok, and handing over to Mr. Ahn. Mr. Ahn also allegedly delivered part of the campaign funds to Seon Bong-sul, another close acquaintance of Mr. Roh’s, to pay the debts of his mineral water company, Jangsucheon. Moreover, the president was formerly involved with this company. If these allegations turn out to be true, this means that members of the Roh camp embezzled its campaign fund for personal use, a serious charge that demands an intensive inquiry.
Various witnesses have testified that Mr. Ahn had been acting as the actual secretary- general for the Roh Moo-hyun camp last year, handling all the financial affairs. Millennium Democratic Party spokesman Yoo Jong-pil, who had been the press secretary for Mr. Roh’s campaign, claimed that there had been three incidents of illegal funds received by the Roh team; after the primary race in Gwangju, Mr. Roh’s alliance with Chung Mong-joon, another presidential candidate, and after the presidential election.
Mr. Yoo also claimed that close aides to Mr. Roh had individually received large sums of money on the aforementioned occasions. These claims must also be probed and clarified.
The prosecution must leave no stone left unturned in its investigation. It needs to look at not only the source of the funds, but how they were used and to whom they were given.