[EDITORIALS]Don’t slow the counsel downLee Wu-seung, one of the lawyers on the team of the independent counsel, Kim Jin-heung, said he would resign. The counsel’s office is investigating allegations of corruption by presidential aides.
Mr. Lee said prosecutors who were supposed to be helping the team’s probe were actually blocking the investigation. We are concerned about this incident, because it could hinder future independent counsels’ probes.
This kind of incident was predestined when the independent counsel team was organized. The independent counsel appoints his assistants from among a pool of lawyers. But working-level investigators were sent from the prosecution.
The counsel was appointed because the prosecution’s probe was not trustworthy, but prosecutors are still working in the independent counsel team as core members.
It is natural for the investigators to feel awkward between the independent counsel and the prosecution. How can we expect the investigators to make an aggressive probe that could overturn the outcome of the prosecution’s investigation?
It is necessary to reorganize the counsel team. Selecting investigators from among former prosecutors or investigators could be an option.
The conflict between Mr. Lee and one of the investigators could have been triggered from such a systemic shortcoming. “I ordered the prosecutors to track down account records of the National Agricultural Cooperative Federation’s executives to probe the alleged illegal loans to the Sun & Moon Group,” Mr. Lee said. “I also asked the prosecutor to draft an investigation plan. But he rejected the order for 20 days, hindering the investigations.”
The prosecutor denies that. Even though the prosecutor still belongs to the prosecution, he must obey the orders and regulations of the independent counsel while he is there. We also demand to know more about Mr. Lee’s accusation that the prosecutor was reporting to his home office. The prosecutor also denies that, but leaking information on investigations is a serious charge that must be looked into.
This incident must not discourage the independent counsel team. It should recruit new members as soon as possible so that its probes will not be slowed down.