Eat together laterWhen an independent counsel started its investigation last month into a series of allegations against President-elect Lee Myung-bak, including charges of financial fraud linked to the collapse of BBK, a financial firm founded by Lee’s former business partner, investigators promised to uncover the truth impartially and without prejudice.
As a subject of the investigation, the president-elect also said he would cooperate with the independent counsel and respect the process of law.
The public supported the probe into Lee because they thought that conducting an investigation by an independent counsel would satisfy the principle that “all men are equal before the law.”
However, regardless of the expectations and public support, the investigation went wrong. There are some problems about the way the independent counsel is investigating Lee.
As media reports said, investigators from Independent Counsel Chung Ho-young’s office met with Lee at a luxurious restaurant in Seoul on Sunday over the course of their investigation. Investigators questioned Lee in the restaurant.
In all of Korea’s history, no one has been questioned by prosecutors and an independent counsel at a restaurant. The independent counsel chose the place instead of summoning Lee to an office, such as that of his transition team or his private office at the Lotte Hotel in downtown Seoul.
In addition, it took only two hours for them to question Lee. After a short investigation, they ate dinner together. The place where they had dinner, located near the Blue House, was used by politicians as a venue for secret meetings in the 1960s and ’70s.
Based on the facts, the fairness of the investigation has been questioned. The investigators’ treatment of the president-elect is inappropriate.
Even though investigators had to contend with safety issues due to their subject’s high profile, they should have chosen some place other than a restaurant. Also, they should not have eaten together because the investigation is still in progress.
The independent counsel has a duty to conduct a thorough and fair investigation into corruption allegations linked to the president-elect.
Also, they have a mandate to test all allegations related to the president-elect.
However, unfortunately they didn’t uphold the duty and the truth. The public is disappointed.