Prosecutors’ challengeAfter Kim Yong-cheol, the head of the legal department at Samsung Group from 1997 to 2004, claimed the conglomerate had created a huge slush fund to bribe prosecutors, the case may be handed over to an independent counsel. Presidential candidates Chung Dong-young of the United New Democratic Party, Kwon Young-gil of the Democratic Labor Party and Moon Kook-hyun of the Creative Korea Party yesterday decided to submit a motion to appoint an independent counsel to probe the bribery scandal and agreed to submit it to the upcoming regular session of the National Assembly on Nov. 23. The alliance of liberal party leaders will likely receive approval from the National Assembly because they have the majority of seats.
There will also be a certain limit to how much prosecutors can do to investigate the scandal because Kim also claims that some top-ranking prosecutors took bribes from Samsung in return for giving special treatment to the nation’s top conglomerate.
However, the process of investigating the case by a special counsel should be put off until Kim and his supporters in the Catholic Priests’ Association for Justice disclose the entire list of top prosecutors who allegedly were paid off by Samsung, along with other evidence. Without specific proof, an independent counsel cannot be proposed merely on mounting speculation. In addition, the scandal should not be used as a political tool by those who are just trying to win votes in the upcoming presidential election. Kim must release his list and a thorough probe should be carried out by prosecutors.
If Kim keeps releasing bits of evidence according to his whims, he deserves the criticism that his motives are not pure. In addition, lawmakers who take advantage of the scandal should also be criticized.
Prosecutors have already accepted the case so we hope that they can uncover the truth. Kim even claimed that the incoming chief prosecutor took bribes, thus prosecutors have to work hard not to lose face. If they can gain the trust of the public, they may set this chaotic scandal straight. If they fail and there is still suspicion, there will be time to introduce an independent counsel later.