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Parties blame Cabinet for savings banks scandal

During the parliamentary appellation on Thursday, parties blasted the Cabinet on the savings banks scandal and other vital economic issues.

The opposition camp condemned the current administration for neglecting supervision over the savings banks, while the ruling party attributed the domino fall to the financial policies adopted by past administrations.

Even some ruling party lawmakers aimed their criticism at the Lee Myung-bak government.

“Had the government grasped the magnitude of the problem and reacted in time, it could have reduced to the scale of financial losses,” said Rep. Kim Tae-won, first-term lawmaker of the ruling Grand National Party.

“Especially considering the fact that most savings banks depositors belong to the low-income bracket, the government is to blame for not taking the issue as an urgent priority.”

Rep. Bae Young-shik, another GNP lawmaker, criticized the Board of Audit and Inspection for neglecting its supervisory responsibilities for years.

“Over the past years, several reports were made to the BAI on the poor financial situation of savings banks but no actions were taken by the board,” the lawmaker said.

“Officials of the failing savings banks were given sufficient time to siphon off the deposited money before the suspension announcement, while ordinary customers were left defenseless.”

Bae also demanded that BAI officials who knowingly overlooked the irregularities be criminally sanctioned.

Oh Jae-sae of the main opposition Democratic Party suggested the establishment of a joint committee of the Financial Supervisory Service, Bank of Korea and the National Assembly to supervise the banks.

GNP lawmaker Jeong Tae-keun, however, urged the parties to drop the issue and turn their attention to other issues concerning the livelihoods of the people.

“We already have more urgent pending matters to deal with during the June plenary session,” Jeong said.

“The parties agreed earlier to launch a parliamentary investigation into the savings banks so we should no longer waste time on the issue.”

Since the prosecution took up the Busan Mutual Savings Bank corruption case, 28 people have so far been accused of related charges. Allegations have also been raised against several ruling and opposition party lawmakers in the process.

By Bae Hyun-jung (tellme@heraldcorp.com)
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