[EDITORIALS]The 260-million-won ‘error’In January, family members of civil servants were busy paying visits to banks to get savings and loan certificates for reporting their net worth. The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs inspects financial institutions to confirm whether the officials have properly reported their property. One official had been warned for failing to report a 100,000 won ($85) deposit for his child.
That is how government officials report their properties. But President Roh Moo-hyun failed to register profits of 260 million won from selling his home when he took office a year ago. President Roh sold his home, registered in his wife’s name, well before his inauguration, the Blue House said.
He spent 190 million won of the 450-million-won he received for the house to repay debts, and received the remaining 260 million won after civil servants registered their properties. But the presidential secretary made a mistake in not filing the remaining 260 million won as receivables last year, the Blue House said.
That makes little sense. Even if the secretary erred, President Roh or his wife should have corrected the mistake when they reviewed the documents.
That matter had been discussed last year. In response to questions on why the money was not included in the list of the president’s properties, the Blue House said President Roh spent the gains from selling his home to pay debts. It is unclear in what way the Blue House will explain the odd incident of recouping money that was supposed to be used to repay debts.
On Thursday, the Blue House said the problem arose because it had been too occupied over the inauguration. Does it mean that the Blue House had made a wrong explanation on the mistake a year ago because they had been too busy?
We are not interested in the value of President Roh’s property. President Roh’s honesty is our concern, as this incident follows a string of money troubles in which he appeared to be involved. Dismissing President Roh’s omission of hundred of millions of won as a mere mistake, while searching into other government officials’ children’s deposits, lays the Blue House open to criticism for discrimination.