[EDITORIALS]Another dubious deal

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[EDITORIALS]Another dubious deal

Suspicions surrounding the Korea Highway Corporation’s involvement in the Haengdam island development project are snowballing. Moon Chung-in, chairman of the Presidential Committee on Northeast Asian Cooperation Initiatives, promised governmental support for the project and signed a memorandum of understanding with a private development company. It has also emerged that Jeong Chan-yong, former Blue House senior personnel affairs secretary, met with the private company’s president and discussed measures to attract capital from Singapore. Mr. Jeong, furthermore, is said to have participated in the meeting between the Korea Highway Corporation and the private company.
The committee that Mr. Moon heads advises the president on national strategies in the era of Northeast Asia. The position of senior personnel affairs secretary is one that the Roh administration has boasted about, saying that it uncovers talent in the provinces and within academia. The people who hold those two jobs should not have the free time to care about the business of a state-run company. But they got interested in this project, which is far outside their own areas of responsibility, and we suspect that they did so for a reason. An economic adviser to President Roh Moo-hyun will also be questioned in this case, which makes us suspect that the Blue House is behind all of it.
Like the Korea National Railroad’s oil deal, the Haengdam island project has to do with private investment. It is a specialized area of business that a former university professor, a former civic activist and a former student activist have no cause to delve into. We believe they went beyond their duties in backing the project. In particular, the letter Mr. Moon wrote for the development company so it could issue bonds, essentially a letter of recommendation, was a clear abuse of authority. How can he say that his committee is qualified to confirm government support for the project, or to manage and monitor it? A Construction Ministry director who wrote a similar letter in the minister’s name is also to blame.
We believe that those involved in this case dared to behave as they did because the powers that be were behind them. The public is horrified at the indiscretion of the president’s aides, and now awaits the Board of Audit and Inspection’s findings in the case.
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