Summary of illegal civilian inspection by Prime Minister’s office

Disclaimer: The following is a totally unauthoritative personal translation of a box summary of an article appeared in <Hankyoreh21> on Mar. 12, 2012, reporting the illegal civilian inspection by the Public Service Ethics Supporter Office of Prime Minister’s Office. The incident itself and the following coverup effort that is being leaked bit by bit now through testimonies or court records of those involved reveal how low a self-proclaimed ‘ethically perfect’ government can fall. All rights regarding this post stay with the author of the original article or with <Hankyoreh21> and this post will be scrapped immediately at their request. In the post, I tried to match the English translation of names of people / institutions / positions to their authentic ones as much as I can but, inevitably, some of them may be different. Original article of this post (in Korean) can be found in the link at the bottom.

An ongoing case that touched only the terminal of suspicion

In Jul. 2008, Prime Minister’s office was reorganized and Public Service Ethics Supporter Office (supporter office below) was established. In the same month, a ‘tip’ that a ‘civilian’ Jong-ik Kim put a video clip blaming President Myung-bak Lee on one of his blogs was brought to the manager of supporter office check team 1 Choong-gon Kim. (However, it has not been cleared whether there was in fact a ‘tip’.) In Sep., supporter office started inspecting Mr. Kim; supporter office administrative deputy director Choong-yeon Won met an official of Kookmin Bank where Mr. Kim had worked and asked to take “appropriate measures” against him. Then, employees of supporter office stormed the company Mr. Kim was running after retiring Kookmin Bank and illegally confiscated company materials such as finance records. In Oct., they investigated if Mr. Kim had donated political funds to then Democratic Party representative Kwang-jae Lee (Rep. Lee was known as the right-arm person of former president Moo-hyun Roh), if he had supported money to candlelight rallies (in 2008, candlelight rallies were very rampant with the resumption of US beef import negotiation just before President Myung-bak Lee’s visit to US), and if he had been a member of ‘People who love Rho Moo-hyun.’ This can be considered the initial ‘purpose’ they started to investigate Mr. Kim.

Supporter office reported Mr. Kim to the police in Nov. but police  dismissed the case in Feb. 2009 after investigation. Later, however, after replacing the officer in charge, police recharged him for libel concerning the video clip criticizing president. In Oct. that year, prosecution concluded to suspend indictment but Mr. Kim, provoked by prosecution’s decision, appealed to the constitutional court.

As Mr. Kim’s constitutional court appeal was publicized in Jun. 2010, then Democratic Party raised a suspicion regarding illegal civilian inspection by supporter office. Belatedly, Prime Minister’s office reported 4 employees including public service ethics support officer In-kyoo Lee to prosecution. Prosecution procrastinated for four days to execute the seizure and search against Prime Minister’s office but supporter office already destroyed major evidences during that time. Although facts that supporter office illegally inspected the wife of Grand National Party (currently Saenuri Party) representative Kyoung-pil Nam, Blue House helped them to destroy evidences through fake name phones, and the circumstance that supporter office reported inspection results to Blue House were revealed one after another, prosecution’s investigation did not move forward one step. Prosecution who could not reveal the ‘upper line’ but indicted only some of supporter office employees rather investigated the victim of illegal inspection Mr. Kim thoroughly for 10 months and charged him for embezzlement in May 2011. Saying that “there’s no evidence of crime”, court declined almost all charges, confirming that the prosecution’s indictment was a kind of ‘political retribution.’

By the way, prosecution acquitted all representatives of Saenuri Party Jeon-hyuk Chos (조전혁), Moo-sung Kim (김무성), Heung-gil Ko (고흥길), Hae-jin Cho (조해진) who were reported for calling Mr. Kim as ‘secret money manager of participatory government’ in last Feb.

Reporter Nam-il Kim 김남일 기자

Useful link


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