Uncharted watersThe National Assembly yesterday passed a bill to appoint an independent counsel to investigate Lee Myung-bak’s alleged involvement in the BBK fraud.
If Lee is elected and if he has been lying, special prosecutors will investigate a president-elect for the first time in our country’s history.
This will bring shame on the entire nation.
The Grand National Party did not vote for the bill, stating several reasons. But Lee and the Grand National Party must now cooperate with the special prosecutors.
The bill states that the investigation must be carried out swiftly. The team has seven days to prepare and 40 days to investigate. That’s twice as fast as the recent investigation into the Samsung Group.
Considering all the circumstances, the special counsel is likely to wrap up the investigation before the inauguration of the new president on Feb. 25. But the probe must be as thorough as it is speedy. The investigation must not leave any unanswered questions or doubt.
The bill states that the independent prosecutor is to investigate not only Lee’s involvement in stock price manipulation but two other issues as well: the ownership of land in Dogok-dong, southern Seoul, and whether or not Lee is the owner of DAS. Lee’s opponents continue to flag the last two issues.
Regarding the land in Dogok-dong, prosecutors said in August when they ended their initial investigation that a “third person” appeared to be the owner, and that that person is thought to be Lee’s brother.
The prosecutors were criticized for not identifying the real owner and for stirring up further suspicion. As a result of the confusion, Lee’s opponents maintain that Lee is the real owner of the land.
Lee is probably the only person who knows how the investigation will conclude. He has said if he is the owner of the Dogok-dong land, he will quit the presidential race.
He also said if he was involved in the BBK scam, he has said he will shoulder all responsibility. So, if Lee is elected and it turns out that he has been telling the truth, he will be free to govern as president. That will be good for Lee and Korea.
But if he is elected and prosecutors discover he has been lying, our destiny is unclear. From that point on we are sailing into uncharted waters.
Whether Lee is proved a liar or not, and whether or not the special prosecutors earmark the video clip that surfaced yesterday as conclusive evidence, Korean society will hopefully grow more mature from this experience, no matter how painful the procedure may be.