A case not for the prosecution

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A case not for the prosecution

Prosecutors wrapped up a highly sensitive investigation into the cyberattack on the National Election Commission’s Web site during the Oct. 26 Seoul mayoral by-election, concluding that aides of two lawmakers were solely behind the hacking and no other high-level ruling party or government officials were involved.

The prosecution pointed to a former secretary of National Assembly Speaker Park Hee-tae and the chauffeur of Choi Ku-sik, who recently left the Grand National Party, as the culprits behind the two-hour disruption of the Web site of the commission.

The two aides and their minor accomplices at a software company exchanged 100 million won. Ten million won was used to pay for the crime and the rest was unrelated to the case, the prosecution said.

The prosecution said that it discovered no involvement from higher ranking officials. Its conclusion was no different from an earlier police investigation, apart from discovering the involvement of the speaker’s secretary.

The prosecution examined computer records, mobile phone messages and conversations, documents from offices and homes, the financial accounts of the suspects as well as interviewing witnesses. It double-checked the evidence with the Korea Internet & Security Agency. It may have tried to do its best, but its conclusion hardly comes across as convincing, either to politicians or to the public at large. The opposition Democratic Unity Party said that it was enraged by the prosecution’s findings and vowed to demand a special parliamentary investigation into the case. The GNP also agreed on the need for a supplementary parliamentary investigation.

The cyberattack on the election watchdog is a serious crime against the country’s democracy. If the prosecution’s investigation was lacking, the National Assembly must further investigate the case. The GNP must go along with the opposition in appointing investigators to eliminate any doubts among the public and any further controversy over the case.

But judging from past history, parliamentary investigations are not always the best solution. There have been numerous special parliamentary investigations, but they failed to dispel suspicions over controversial cases.

The fact that a parliamentary investigation is called is obvious proof that the prosecution has again failed to do its job properly. If it had not lost public credibility in the first place, there would have been no need for the legislature to do the justice system’s job.

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