[EDITORIALS]Well done, here’s your cashIt seems that the prosecutors will soon finish their investigations of corruption charges levied against presidential aides, verifying that the crimes involved were personal ones. The prosecutors have decided to conclude the investigation by putting Ahn Hee-jung under physical detention, and will indict him early next week.
In the course of a two-month-long investigation, the prosecutors arrested several of President Roh Moo-hyun’s aides and supporters. Choi Do-sul, a former Blue House secretary; Ahn Hee-jung; Kang Geum-won, president of Changshin Textile Co. and Moon Byung-ok, chairman of Sun & Moon Group were all arrested. Mr. Ahn is suspected of accepting 1.1 billion won ($958,000) from businesses; others were investigated and arrested on charges such as tax evasion or swindling. Even in the case of Mr. Choi, who accepted 1.1 billion won from SK Group right after the presidential election, the prosecutors accused him of a personal crime of swindling. As things have developed, there are complaints that the prosecutors are neglecting the investigation of the election funds of President Roh’s camp and “congratulatory contributions” offered by businesses after Mr. Roh’s election.
What are congratulatory contributions? They are money businesses offer to the president-elect with the purpose of asking for favors in the future. They are much more like bribes than campaign contributions. In the past, whenever there was a power transfer, such congratulatory money was offered by businesses and the amounts were no less than presidential election funds. If people are told that there was no such congratulatory money given to President Roh this time, would they believe it?
This will all be difficult to sort out. Businesses confess to giving money to losers; they are tight-lipped about illegal money to the party they will have to deal with for the next four years.
The investigations must serve as a prod for political reform. Not only election funds but also the amount of congratulatory money Mr. Roh received must be discovered.