Board of Audit and Inspection chief Yang Kun’s resignation speech has sparked off a fresh round of attacks against the government from the main Democratic Party.
Saying that he believed that performing the duties of the BAI chief regardless of administration changes was his duty, Yang said that he no longer saw much value in continuing in his post.
“I have come to place little meaning in continuing to perform the duties of the BAI chairman. This is a personal decision,” Yang said in his resignation speech.
He went on to say that he considered the BAI’s top priority as maintaining political neutrality and independence in conducting its duties, but he failed in protecting the organization from outside influences.
|Board of Audit and Inspection chief Yang Kun. (Park Hae-mook/The Korea Herald)|
“During my term, I endeavored to raise (the BAI’s) independence but looking back now it was inadequate,” Yang said in his resignation speech.
The DP has interpreted Yang’s comments as being “proof” of outside involvement in his decision to resign.
“The mid-term resignation of the BAI chief is a problem in itself. Resignation itself is a violation of the Constitution, just as pressuring (Yang) to resign is,” DP members of the parliamentary Legislation and Judiciary Committee said in a statement.
“The Park Geun-hye administration has turned the BAI into a negotiation tool between the pro-Lee and pro-Park factions of the (Saenuri) party.”
Earlier in the day, DP floor leader Rep. Jun Byung-hun also voiced doubts about the decision being Yang’s own, citing allegations that Yang was pressured by Cheong Wa Dae, and that the BAI chief was pushed out as a result of a power struggle over the four-rivers project.
“Whichever is the truth, it is a very grievous personnel management scandal. The DP will closely watch the president’s BAI chief appointment,” Jun said at the party’s supreme council meeting on Monday.
Allegations have risen that the decision was a result of pressure from the pro-Lee Myung-bak faction of the Saenuri Party over BAI’s assessment of the four-rivers project.
The BAI has compiled a report saying that the 22-trillion won project was faulty from the planning stage.
In addition, allegations have risen that Cheong Wa Dae induced Yang’s resignation after he refused to appoint ChungAng University professor Chang Hoon ― a former campaign aide of President Park Geun-hye ― as a BAI commissioner.
The presidential office, however, denied all such speculations and that it had tried to ensure Yang his term.
“It is regretful that (Yang) chose to resign, when the new government retained Yang in office in order to guarantee his term,” senior presidential press secretary Lee Jung-hyun said.
The ruling Saenuri Party met the development with a muted welcome.
“(The BAI) should use the opportunity to regain the public’s trust and to become the auditing organization that conducts strict inspections in line with constitutional ideals,” Saenuri Party chairman Rep. Hwang Woo-yea said at the party’s supreme council meeting on Monday.
Although Hwang had not been openly against Yang continuing as the BAI chief, the Saenuri leader had earlier implied that the BAI was deviating from its role saying “the BAI’s image is shaking under Yang.”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org