After assembly raids, reps want probe of prosecutors’ misdeeds

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After assembly raids, reps want probe of prosecutors’ misdeeds

Opposition parties demanded a parliamentary probe into various allegations of corruption involving prosecutors, apparently in retaliation for a widening criminal investigation into a lobbying scandal involving dozens of ruling and opposition lawmakers.

In a joint request with 112 lawmakers’ signatures from five opposition parties including the Democratic Party and the Liberty Forward Party, the lawmakers demanded that the probe look into at least three recent scandals that suggested corruption among prosecutors.

“Trust in the prosecutors has fallen,” the parties’ statement said. “Through this probe the truth regarding corruption among prosecutors should be revealed.” The parties also demanded separate committees to be formed for the ruling and opposition parties for the probe.

The chairs of the Democratic Party and the Liberty Forward Party, Sohn Hak-kyu and Lee Hoi-chang, met early yesterday to discuss the recent investigation into the lawmakers, with Sohn expressing his strong disapproval of raids on the offices of 11 lawmakers Friday. The raids were part of a graft investigation into a security guards association that prosecutors believe gave donations to lawmakers for their support of a law that boosted security-guard pay and delayed their retirement age.

The raid infuriated politicians, who claim the money was “legitimate political donations” and say the “excessive” investigation infringes on lawmakers’ legislative activities.

“If the Blue House and the ruling party were both unaware of the prosecutors’ investigations then this truly shows that this is a ‘prosecutors’ republic,’” said Sohn ahead of the meeting. “The prosecutors should take a look at their own shortcomings.

“If the prosecutors do not do this on their own,” he said, “the National Assembly and the people will step forward and reform the prosecutors.”

The Democratic Party’s Sohn also demanded an apology from President Lee Myung-bak, saying that “even though the Blue House says it was unaware of the probe, the rest of the world knows [the truth].”

“The prosecutors say that they will call officials in from the security guards association for questioning starting today based on what they seized during the raids, but the Democratic Party will not give into their demands,” Park Jie-won, the DP floor leader, said yesterday.

“We have decided not to cooperate in their investigation,” Park said.

The Grand National Party expressed their regrets that the prosecutors’ raid had not been thought through carefully, but also said they wished for a fair and swift investigation.

“I don’t believe that the investigation methods were carefully thought out, as the raids were carried out before the G-20 Summit and the National Assembly’s meeting to set next year’s budget,” said GNP Chairman Ahn Sang-soo.

“I hope that the investigation is carried out in a fair and quick manner so that it finishes without the prosecutors receiving any unnecessary criticism.”

Meanwhile, the Blue House said that it had nothing to do with the raids on the lawmakers’ offices and that it would accept the results from the prosecutors’ investigation.

By Christine Kim, Yonhap []
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