Where’s the scrutiny?Kim Gi-pyo, presidential secretary for anti-corruption, resigned amid allegation of real estate speculation. The Blue House claimed the president accepted the resignation, although the property purchase had not been made for speculative purposes. But records of Kim’s land and property ownership across Seoul and the capital region suggest otherwise. The investment tactics came from an expert on real estate instead of a government employee. The office Kim was appointed for was created to prevent real estate speculation and corruption of government employees. The fact that he has become embroiled in the allegation makes him unfit for the title.
Moon Jae-in’s presidential office that has been waging a so-called war on speculation has been repeatedly associated with suspicions of speculation and two-faced activities on property ownership. A former presidential spokesman had used his title to get bank loan of 1 billion won ($885,000) to buy a 2.5-billion-won building in an area designated for redevelopment and a senior presidential secretary resigned himself by refusing to yield his extra expensive apartment in Seoul. The latest secretary has been accused of borrowing 5 billion won for asset investment. When he came into office in late March, the government had been grappled with the scandal of Korea Land and Housing Corp.’s employees engaging with inside information.
Upon making an appointment, the Blue House assured that each figure had been cleared of such activities. The staff most likely saw Kim’s real estate records. So, they could have overlooked it, or, worse, did not find any problem.
President Moon Jae-in apologized for hurting people with repeated speculative activities of public employees. He vowed strict oversight. But the Blue House had neglected to examine a figure with 9 billion won worth of real estate assets before placing him in a position to watch over corruption of government employees.
When it came under attack, the Blue House said the screening process cannot be perfect. That does not explain how it had been kept in the dark until media raised the suspicion. It must clarify whether it had known of the affair or missed it during a deficient screening process.
Where the fault lies must be identified to fix the screening system. The government has turned a deaf ear whenever its appointment system caused controversy. It is why the flops continue. The Blue House must come up with a fundamental solution.