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GNP turns against probe unit closure

Lawmakers increasingly oppose plan to shut Central Investigation Department


A parliamentary committee’s move to abolish the prosecution’s core investigation unit faced an obstacle as the majority of ruling party lawmakers opposed the plan, after Cheong Wa Dae urged the party to consider the matter prudently.

The Grand National Party held a general meeting on Thursday to discuss whether to close down the Central Investigation Department and extend the period of the judicial reform committee.

The special committee is currently scheduled to operate until the end of the month.

“A majority of lawmakers opposed the closure of the CID, especially now that a critical investigation is currently underway,” said a party spokesperson. “Also, many claimed that it is not within the legislative rights of the parliament to close down an affiliated organ of the prosecution.”

Rep. Joo Sung-young, who previously advocated the closure, suggested keeping watch on the prosecution’s savings banks case before discussing future measures, such as alternative investigation units.

“Even if the judicial reform committee passes the CID closure bill, the legislation and judiciary committee would reject the plan,” said Rep. Park Jun-seon.

Park and 48 fellow lawmakers, called on Tuesday for the vetoing of the closure.

“Though it may seem irrelevant for the party to express its stance over the decision made by a parliamentary committee, we have felt the need to canvass for opinions within the party,” said Rep. Hwang Woo-yea, party floor leader and acting chairman.

“We will keep our ears open to our lawmakers and to the public, regardless of the statements from Cheong Wa Dae and the prosecution.”

Prolonging the period of the committee should also be considered, Hwang added.

Should the ruling party oppose the closure, the committee’s suggestion may only be discouraged.

“There is little to be done if the GNP changes its mind to play along with Cheong Wa Dae,” said Rep. Kim Dong-cheol, the main opposition Democratic Party member of the committee.

Meanwhile, the DP held a policy debate on “the necessity of prosecutorial reform and alternative measures” and invited experts to speak on the prosecution’s problems and their solutions.

Civic groups advocating judicial reforms also delivered Thursday a joint statement to the ruling party, urging it not to put down its earlier plan to remodel the prosecution.

“The CID may be substituted by a special investigation body, as suggested by the parliamentary committee,” they said in their statement.

“The ruling party should keep its earlier agreements to cooperate in the CID closure and related prosecutorial reforms.”

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