Now it’s the Saenuri’s turnWill we ever hear the end of corrupt money being used in nominations and elections? Obviously not, as more news of briberies and illegal donations roil the legislature, which has been more thoroughly engrossed in corruption scandals since it began its four-year term in late May. Prosecutors launched a new investigation into incumbent lawmakers after the National Election Commission raised the suspicion that Hyun Ki-whan, a member of the ruling Saenuri Party’s nomination committee, which reviewed and chose candidates for the April 11 general election, received 300 million won ($264,000) in return for awarding proportional representative candidacies. Kim Young-joo of the Liberty Forward Party also has been charged with pledging 5 billion won to the party in exchange for a sure proportional representative seat.
Those charged are strongly denying the allegations and their cases may have to be settled in court. Prosecutors are stuck with another scandalous political case ahead of the presidential election but have no choice but to set an example in order to root out shady deals in our election process. Politicians will have to fully cooperate.
The buying and selling of nominations is one of the most despicable election irregularities. The Saenuri Party, which has been accused of coercing funds from corporate executives in the past, promised to wash its hands from such deals with the symbolic move into a tent. It also discarded its old name to sound more humble. Now it seems to have been all part of an act.
If the allegations are proven true, they will deal a heavy blow to the party on the presidential campaign trail. Park Geun-hye, the front-runner among candidates from the ruling party who led the April election campaign, pledged to stake her political career on transparency and a fair nomination process. Although she may not have been involved, Hyun participated in the nomination committee as one of her deputies. She may lose credibility in her choice of people as well as her ability to create a corruption-free system.
And Hyun may not be the only one who has abused his authority to make money. The whistle-blower was Hyun’s secretary, but the case may turn into a Pandora’s Box. The election watchdog is offering as much as 500 billion won to whistle-blowers. Bribery news may spill over through Oct. 10, when the statute of limitations on election irregularities from April expires.