[EDITORIALS]Laying bare the truthThe Board of Audit and Inspection announced the outcome of its investigation into the national railroad’s investment in an oilfield in Russia. The National Railroad Administration made an overseas investment without legal authorization, a feasibility study or the proper decision-making process, and so incurred a loss to the state, the auditor concluded. It asked the prosecution to investigate six people, including Kim Se-ho, the vice minister of construction and transportation.
But, the audit board said it was unable to confirm the alleged involvement of Uri Party Representative Lee Kwang-jae. That jibes with Mr. Lee’s claim that he had nothing to do with the case. A few days ago, the secretary-general of the board also said Mr. Lee was not directly involved in the deal.
Whether Mr. Lee is involved in the matter or not will be determined by the prosecution, because the audit board made the conclusion without questioning two key figures of the case, Jeon Dae-wol and Huh Moon-suk. Therefore, there are suspicions that audit board quietly questioned Mr. Lee in order to exclude him from the case.
The audit board must have investgated why Mr. Lee’s name appeared in the minutes of the railroad administration’s meeting in August. According to the document, the railroad administration said it joined the project because Mr. Lee had recommended its participation.
The auditor also failed to give a convincing explanation about why the railroad administration began the oilfield development business unreasonably, and why it suddenly terminated the project.
The audit board said a senior official of the railroad corporation accepted proposals from citizens and led the multi-million dollar oilfield investment alone. The explanation is hard to believe. While the board frittered away its opportunity to question Mr. Jeon and Mr. Huh, the two men are on the run. Criticisms are mounting that the audit was handled poorly.
The prosecution is responsible for laying bare the truth. It must investigate thoroughly to see if there was any outside political influence on this matter.
It is unimaginable that this kind of case could take place without the influence of prominent politicians. If prosecutors cannot prove the case, the appointment of an independent counsel, as opposition parties are demanding, is inevitable.