A never-ending list of allegationsConfirmation hearings on ministerial level appointees have started, but less attention has been given to six of the candidates because the media and the opposition’s attention is focused on nominee for justice minister Cho Kuk facing a prosecutorial probe on multiple charges. But other nominees also require equal scrutiny over eligibility as some of them have serious flaws that should not be taken lightly.
Kim Hyun-soo, nominee for agriculture, fisheries and food minister, and Eun Sung-soo, candidate for the chairman of the Financial Services Commission, are suspected of capitalizing on their cheap rents in Sejong Administrative City to increase wealth through real estate trade.
Both, as senior government officials, were awarded apartments in Sejong at favorable terms as incentives to government employees moving to the administrative city. They opted to rent them out, which would have made them money.
Choi Ki-young, an engineering professor at Seoul National University who has been nominated to be the science and ICT minister, had over 10 billion won ($8.2 million) but did not pay any inheritance tax.
Lee Jung-ok, gender equality minister nominee, could be grilled over the suspicious way her daughter got into a prestigious university. As a senior in high school, her daughter published a book based on her stay in the United States.
The preface of the book was written by former Indian President Abdul Kalam. Lee translated the book into Korean and may have used her connections to help her daughter get into a top school through early admissions.
Han Sang-hyuk, named as head of the Korea Communications Commission, has multiple issues, including plagiarism and illicit real estate trade, as well as questions about neutrality to chair the agency overseeing broadcasting and internet contents.
The commission act bars anyone on the board if he or she had been in the industry within three years. Han has been a lawyer defending MBC for 10 years. The opposition is vehemently against someone who could influence a major broadcaster.
All the allegations are grave and could challenge the candidates if they had not been overwhelmed by the hype over Cho Kuk.
Despite all of the damage caused by Cho, the administration is unwilling to let him go.
JoongAng Ilbo, Aug. 30, page 30