Justice delayed is justice denied

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Justice delayed is justice denied

 The investigation into the Daejang-dong development scandal has been moving at a snail’s pace. Given the slow motion, the investigation may not be wound up by presidential election day on March 9. Lee Jae-myung, the presidential candidate of the ruling party, cannot avoid the criticism that he is making excuses to avoid an investigation before the election.

Timing is essential in any investigation. If time is wasted, truth cannot be found. The prosecution on Monday refiled for an arrest warrant on Kim Man-bae, a major shareholder of Hwacheon Daeyu, an asset management company at the center of the favoritism scandal, 19 days after its first warrant request was denied. The prosecution argues the refiling took time as it had to request arrest warrants for Nam Wook, lawyer and owner of Cheonhwa Dongin No. 4, an affiliate of Hwacheon Daeyu, and Jeong Min-yong, another lawyer accused of designing the business structure. The prosecution could be accused of abuse of investigative authority by summoning Kim six times. It released Nam after arresting him at the airport because it could not get a warrant within 48 hours of detention.

The prosecution dilly-dallied on a raid and search on Seongnam City government. When it finally embarked on the raid, it did not include the mayoral office and its secretariat, raising suspicions about allowing the office time to destruct evidence. The key to the investigation is to find who is behind the removal of the provision on the city redeeming the profits in excess of a preset amount from the Daejang-dong project that ended up giving business operator and individual investors 850 billion won ($723.1 million). While indicting Yoo Dong-gyu, the former acting president of Seongnam City Development, the prosecution left out the breach of trust account. The move also raises suspicions of exempting Lee of liability even as the former city mayor and Gyeonggi governor proclaimed he had designed the project.

The prosecution has taken the files of other apartment development projects the city has administered along with documents on Daejang-dong. It plans to expand the investigation team. For now, the probe must focus on Daejang-dong. Nearly two months have passed since the scandal broke. But apart from arrest of the four key figures, no progress has been made. A senior prosecutor said the investigation is 20 percent complete. Justice delayed is justice denied. The prosecution must speed up the investigation.
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