Three candidates selected for head prosecutor spot

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Three candidates selected for head prosecutor spot

Three candidates for the nation’s top prosecutor were picked yesterday to replace the embattled predecessor, Han Sang-dae, who bitterly stepped down last year, taking responsibility for internal conflicts and bribery scandals involving fellow prosecutors.

The Ministry of Justice’s recommendation committee convened a meeting yesterday and selected three senior prosecutors to be the next prosecutor general - Kim Jin-tae, the deputy head at the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office; So Byung-chul, the head prosecutor at the Daegu High Prosecutors’ Office; and Chae Dong-wook, the head prosecutor at the Seoul High Prosecutors’ Office.

“The committee members had a deep discussion on qualifications of the candidates and how to evaluate them,” Lee Dong-yeol, spokesman of the Justice Ministry, told reporters. “After that, they selected three candidates through a vote.”

Han, 54, resigned on Nov. 30 after a rebellion by his senior prosecutors, who resisted his attempt to disband an elite investigating body.

So far, the ministry has received recommendations on candidates for the position from citizens, including civic activists, and began vetting some of the listed candidates concerning their military service records, assets and resumes.

Under the legal procedure, the Justice Minister will nominate one of the three candidates, and President Lee Myung-bak will make a final approval for the nomination, through a consultation with incoming President Park’s transition team.

However, some political observers say there appears to be a conflict between outgoing president Lee and incoming Park over the appointment because Park’s side wants the appointment to be made by Park, not the outgoing president.

Kim, 61, from Sacheon in South Gyeongsang, is currently in the second-highest position in the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, serving as acting prosecutor general since Han stepped down.

Kim was once in charge of bribery scandals involving political big-wigs, such as former president Roh Tae-woo and Kim Hong-up, son of late leader Kim Dae-jung.

Chae, 54, from Seoul, was also a high-profile prosecutor, renowned for indicting Hyundai Motor Group Chairman Chung Mong-goo of bribery in 2006. He also took deputy head of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office before Kim.

So, 55, from Suncheon, South Jeolla, was head manager of the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office’s criminal cases. So was once in charge of a bribery scandal involving former president Roh Tae-woo.

By Kim Hee-jin []
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