Prosecution needs reform

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Prosecution needs reform

A series of scandals have rocked the prosecution to its core. On the heels of a case where a senior prosecutor has been charged with pocketing a huge amount of money from the ringleader of a pyramid scheme, a junior prosecutor is now under questioning for having an inappropriate sexual relationship with a female suspect.

The chief of the Seoul Dongbu District Prosecutors’ Office where the trainee prosecutor was working offered to step down, but higher prosecution authority has been pressured to share accountability for the rampant malfeasance and poor discipline in the law enforcement agency.

It is shocking to learn that a prosecutor made a sexual move while questioning a female suspect and took her to a motel. The prosecutor insists the sex was consensual.

Even if there had been no bargaining or threat, it is unthinkable for a prosecutor to have an inappropriate relationship with a suspect. The prosecution’s explanation that the junior prosecutor was still under training is laughable.

Prosecutors have been involved in too many scandals to regard the latest incident as an isolated incident. It was only earlier this week that a senior prosecutor of the Seoul High District Prosecutors’ Office was arrested on charges of embezzlement. Last year it was a female prosecutor who was charged with receiving a luxury import car as a bribe and a group of prosecutors found to have been entertained by corporate sponsors in 2010.

The series of corruption cases underscore poor morale and discipline in the law enforcement office. A sweeping reform needs to be implemented to set a new foundation.

The prosecution should take the initiative in accepting various reform measures suggested by presidential candidates.

Prosecutor General Han Sand-dae said he will review all the proposals, including a shutdown of the central investigation office of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, establishment of a permanent outside counsel probe system and a new independent agency to investigate corruption of senior public officials.

The fact that the prosecutor chief hinted that the prosecution would agree to abolish the agency’s pride and joy, the central investigation department, to yield its investigative power to other authorities raises expectations for radical self-reform. But real actions are more important than words.

The prosecutor general should stake his job on carrying out reform in order to clean up the organization’s name as a gluttonous elite group and restore its credibility.
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