[EDITORIALS]Come clean, Mr. Kim

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[EDITORIALS]Come clean, Mr. Kim

The Supreme Court yesterday cleared those who had been accused of diverting funds from the main intelligence agency’s budgets to finance the legislative election campaign of the governing party during the Kim Young-sam administration.
The ruling came one year and three months after the appeals court ruled that former National Security and Planning Agency officials were innocent. Yesterday’s verdict backs the rumors that the 120 billion won ($115 million) at issue actually came from slush funds belonging to then-President Kim.
It is time for Mr. Kim to lay bare the truth about the matter, since the Supreme Court has concluded the case.
He should not allow the prosecution to investigate the source of the money so that his dignity and reputation as a former president would be ruined. If he has to make a confession to the people and seek forgiveness, he should do so.
Mr. Kim has initiated attempts to clear up the corrupt politics of our society by promoting a slogan that “history should be correctly remembered.” Therefore, if he had stored such a large sum in the vault of the intelligence agency and used the money recklessly, then he must provide an explanation.
He had sent former presidents to jail, citing their embezzlement. If he himself had raised slush funds and used the money during his term, that is the most hypocritical act in Korea’s political history. That is why the people are feeling disappointed.
Former President Kim Dae-jung and his aides, as well as the prosecution, must reflect on making political use of the case. At the time, they had enough grounds to lay bare the source of the money, but due to political reasons, they claimed that the money belonged to the intelligence agency.
Even after former lawmaker Kang Sam-jae testified and the appeals court made a ruling, the prosecution did not investigate the case properly. That was the starting point where things have gone wrong.
This time, prosecutors must not waste any more time to find out where that money came from. It may be undesirable for the nation to be involved in political debates again over a matter that is decades old. It is also undesirable for the prosecution to only interrogate businessmen.
It is, however, unacceptable to do nothing about the case, to which the statute of limitations still applies. That is why we need Kim Young-sam’s apology and explanation. After his statements, we should put together the wisdom to handle the matter.
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