Two nominees to get grilled on land

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Two nominees to get grilled on land

Today and tomorrow, the National Assembly will scrutinize President Lee Myung-bak’s two cabinet nominees over their qualifications, and opposition lawmakers are already promising tough questions to both on real estate deals in their pasts.

A hearing to confirm Grand National Representative Choung Byoung-gug as the new minister of culture, sports and tourism, will take place today. Choi Joong-kyung, who was the senior secretary to the president for economic affairs, will be grilled tomorrow over his qualifications to become the minister of knowledge economy.

Choung and Choi were nominated to the posts on Dec. 31 when Lee filled the vacancies created from his botched cabinet shakeup in August. Lee’s earlier nominees for the two ministerial posts bowed out after skeletons in their closets were disclosed in confirmation hearings.

Lee’s latest shuffle, however, is going poorly too. His nominee for the head of the Board of Audit and Inspection, Chung Tong-gi, threw in the towel last week after losing the support of Lee’s own ruling party.

For today and tomorrow, Democrats will focus on a favorite attack line: allegations of real estate irregularities.

The Democratic Party said the family of Choi, the knowledge economy minister-nominee, had invested in real estate based on inside information about the government’s development plans. Choi’s wife purchased forestland in North Chungcheong in 1988 at the price of 49 million won ($43,945), and the government announced a development plan three months later and awarded her compensation for the land of 287 million won.

His wife and father-in-law also allegedly speculated in land inside a greenbelt zone in Daejeon in 1988. When the government purchased the land in 2010 to build roads, the family was paid compensation 15 times more than they originally invested.

The DP also alleged that Choi, who reported more than 2.7 billion won in assets, didn’t pay property taxes on an apartment in the wealthy area of southern Seoul for more than a year. The DP said Choi had failed to pay 2.25 million won for his apartment in Cheongdam-dong, Gangnam District from 2005 to 2006 and the district office had once been forced to confiscate his property rights. Choi paid the overdue tax in July 2007, the DP said.

“Choi’s case is a disgrace because it disappoints the people who work so hard to pay their taxes on time,” said DP’s Representative Kang Chang-il.

The opposition party also claimed that Choung, a three-term lawmaker named to be the new culture minister, and his wife speculated on land in Yangpyeong, Gyeonggi.

Democrats allege Choung’s wife submitted false documents to purchase agricultural land with the lawmaker receiving unreasonably high compensation for part of the land when it was developed by the state into a road.

Choung denied the DP’s accusation, saying his family had long ties with Yangpyeong. Choung is a native and was elected three times to represent the area.

By Ser Myo-ja [myoja@joongang.co.kr]


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정병국청문회…與 정책검증vs 野 도덕성검증

정병국 문화체육관광부장관 내정자에 대한 17일 국회 문화체육관광방송통신위의 인사청문회에서 여당 의원들은 정책 검증에 주력한 반면, 야당 의원들은 도덕성 검증에 집중했다.

특히 민주당 의원들은 정 내정자의 재산과 관련한 탈법 의혹 등을 제기, 치열한 공방을 벌였다.

민주당 서갑원 의원은 정 내정자의 배우자와 장인이 함께 매입했던 신교동 대지와 구의동 2건의 상가를 거론, "소득이 없던 시기에 배우자가 부친과 함께 부동산 매매가 이뤄졌다는 점은 부동산 매매를 통한 증여라는 의혹을 불러일으키기 충분하다"고 주장했다.

서 의원은 또 "신교동 대지의 경우 재산신고 시 제출 서류와 종로구청에 제출한 서류를 비교할 때 부동산 매도가액 및 매도인이 다르다"며 "이는 허위서류 제출로, 공직자윤리법을 어긴 것"이라고 덧붙였다.

같은 당 장병완 의원은 정 내정자의 배우자가 소득이 있었음에도 99년 4월부터 2004년 4월까지 국민연금을 내지 않았다고 주장했다.

나아가 2007년 1억6천200만원의 총수입, 7천400만원의 총지출에도 재산은 2억1천700만원 늘었고, 2008년에도 총수입 2억4천500만원, 총지출 1억400만원이나 재산은 1억7천만원 늘었다는 점을 거론, "대선을 전후해 출처를 알 수 없는 재산이 비상식적으로 증가했다"며 해명을 요구했다. …

http://news.joins.com/article/749/4934749.html?ctg=

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