[EDITORIALS]Never-ending bribery

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[EDITORIALS]Never-ending bribery

President Roh Moo-hyun’s aide, Ahn Hee-jung, testified in court yesterday that he considered the illegal funds he received to be part of a rural scholarship fund. This proves that he has received bribes without feeling any guilt, and that infuriates the public even more.
Mr. Ahn received 200 million won in March and another 400 million in August from two companies in the Busan area. If indeed these companies gave “scholarship money” to politicians without any conditions, this is a laughable matter that even a cow wouldn’t believe. Moreover, he received these illegal funds during the period when he was on trial for receiving illegal funds from Nara Merchant Bank. It is shocking that he had the gall to take more bribes, regarding then as “encouragement money” without any reservations.
Who is Ahn Hee-jung? He is the right-hand man of President Roh and the closest of his aides. In an interview with a monthly magazine last July, he said, “Whether I become a member of the National Assembly [in the April 2004 election] or not, I will form a new mainstream faction and become secretary general of the new ruling party.”
Mr. Ahn has emphasized a changing of the guard. In December he said, “It has been 40 years since a younger generation took power. The military carried guns and crossed the Han River [to seize power in a coup d’etat] in May 16, 1961, but we have crossed the Han River with Roh supporters and with yellow scarves around our necks.”
Mr. Ahn used the illegal funds to pay for his apartment, and the amount of money he is found to have received keeps on rising. He is no different from the entrenched political interests ― how could he talk of a change if he was no different from the past corrupt politicians?
So far, we know of 3 billion won he took illegally. He first denied receiving money from Nara Merchant Bank, but the investigation that followed proved him a liar. Even after he was arrested for receiving illegal funds, we now know that he took more. We do not yet know the extent of his illegalities.
Mr. Ahn should confess that he is behind all this black money. President Roh, who has until now been defending him, should apologize to the people.
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