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DP slams P.M., Cheong Wa Dae over savings banks scandal

Opposition lawmakers once again lashed out at the presidential and prime minister’s offices for neglecting their supervisory duties during a special committee meeting on the savings banks state investigation on Tuesday.

“President Lee Myung-bak promised in June to fully cooperate in the savings banks investigation,” said Rep. Ooh Che-chang of the Democratic Party. “It is, however, Cheong Wa Dae that is now sabotaging the committee’s witness selection processes.”

The related investigation may not develop further unless Prime Minister Kim Hwang-sik, who was then director of the Board of Audit and Inspection, presents himself and elaborates on the circumstances of May 2010, Ooh added.

Rep. Shin Hak-yong of the DP demanded likewise.

“The prime minister, during his term as BAI director, established a financial supervisory department and kept an eye on the savings banks’ unstable status,” he said.

“Such reports were also delivered from him to the president but no measures were taken in response.”

Another DP lawmaker, Cho Young-teck, said that it was vital for the prime minister to attend the questioning as he is directly in charge of the related financial bodies.

“The parliamentary investigation aims at providing the savings banks victims with down-to-earth financial and legal aid,” Cho said.

“All solutions, however, shall be meaningless unless guaranteed by the prime minister.”

The DP’s Rep. Shin Kuhn slammed Cheong Wa Dae’s top officials for allegedly covering up the savings banks’ financial failures amid concerns over the Group of 20 summit in Seoul last November.

“The top priority task is to clarify who was responsible for aggravating the downfall of the savings banks,” he said.

“This cannot be done without key Cheong Wa Dae financial authorities present as witnesses.”

Lee Jong-heuk of the ruling Grand National Party also agreed that the prime minister should be summoned as a witness.

“It is the unchanging principle of our party that anyone who is so required should be brought in to testify in the state investigation,” Lee said.

Rep. Kim Chung of the minority Future Hope Alliance denounced the BAI for refusing to cooperate in the state investigation.

As the lawmakers made their arguments, some 20 savings banks victims held a sit-in protest at the main gate of the National Assembly on Tuesday.

The parliamentary investigation is scheduled to end next Friday.

By Bae Hyun-jung (
Korea Herald Youtube