Bribe appeal by Gangwon governorGangwon Governor Lee Kwang-jae filed an appeal to the Constitutional Court yesterday to allow him to start his job, even though the court gave him a suspended jail sentence and a fine in June for taking bribes from two businessmen from 2004 to 2008.
Lee’s petition challenges the Local Autonomy Act, which requires a deputy governor to take over for a governor convicted of a crime until his conviction and sentence are finalized by the Supreme Court.
Lee was elected nine days before the Constitutional Court convicted him of receiving bribes of $140,000 and 20 million won ($16,000) while he was a Democratic Party lawmaker. Lee was also a presidential secretary in the Roh Moo-hyun administration in 2003.
Lee’s lawyers said the law “infringes voters’ rights as expressed in the election.” The petition claims that the act works “against the people’s sovereignty and the essence of provincial governments.”
The lawyers also demanded a swift decision “out of respect for the people of Gangwon who showed their trust in him.”
Legal experts said it will take at least three months for the court to decide.
By Lee Chan-ho [firstname.lastname@example.org]