The prosecution summoned the former records secretary during the Roh Moo-hyun administration as part of its probe into the 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript, as new allegations emerged of the existence of a video of the former president ordering the deletion of the transcript.
Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office summoned Kim Jeong-ho on Thursday as a witness who served as the last records secretary under Roh and was involved in the transfer of presidential archives to the National Archives.
Kim, currently the head of Bongha Village corporation, was questioned on why the transcript was not passed from Cheong Wa Dae’s then-database e-Jiwon to the National Archives, and whether there were any orders from higher up to delete the first copy of the transcript.
Prosecutors said that the alleged deletion and revision of the transcript took place in Cheong Wa Dae before Roh left office, meaning there was no alteration to the transcript taken to Bongha.
As the investigation picked up pace, DP Rep. Moon Jae-in, who was Roh’s chief of staff, accused prosecutors of politicizing the probe.
“(The prosecution) should stop using innocent officials to fit their investigation by harassing them and summon me instead,” Moon said in a press release. Moon has been tipped as one of the key aides next in line to be questioned along with former National Intelligence Service chief Kim Man-bok.
He said that the prosecution should stop asking why the “unauthorized” draft was not transferred to the National Archives and concentrate on why the “final version” that was delivered to the NIS does not exist at the National Archives.
“The prosecutors must stop engaging in politics and focus on investigating,” he added.
The prosecution believes that the first version of the transcript containing dialogue between former President Roh and then-leader of North Korea Kim Jong-il was deleted and not transferred to the National Archives, and that different versions exist at the NIS and in the e-Jiwon system taken to Bongha.
On Wednesday, Roh’s former aides denied foul play, saying that the first draft of the summit records was not delivered because the “first draft” was considered an overlap of the “final version” that had to be handed over. They, however, said the reason why the “final version” was left out should be clarified in the probe. The aides, including Kim Kyung-soo, former speech secretary and currently director at the Roh Foundation, also claimed that there was no specific order from Roh on deleting or transferring the documents.
The prosecution, on the other hand, alleges that the deleted version is the “original” one and that the “revised” version only exists at the NIS and Bongha. The prosecution has said it will present evidence to identify each version and prove none of them were transferred to the National Archives.
Meanwhile, Democratic Party members who had been a part of Roh’s presidential office rebuked reports that the prosecutors have found a video allegedly showing Roh ordering the deletion of the transcript during a Cheong Wa Dae meeting in 2008.
“All those above the rank of administrative officer could view the meeting of senior aides real-time online. It is not only untrue that (Roh) ordered the transcript to be discarded or not be transferred, but it is unreasonable to think that,” said Rep. Jeon Hae-cheol, who served as senior secretary for civil affairs under Roh.
The DP, meanwhile, tried to divert the focus away from the transcript controversy.
“There is no reason for the Saenuri Party to fuss about this problem and engage in political wrangling. The ruling party must leave it up to the prosecution, which should for its part quietly investigate to find the truth without stoking political disputes,” said DP floor leader Rep. Jun Byung-hun.
The Saenuri Party concentrated its attack on the pro-Roh members within the DP.
“Those suspected of being involved in causing disorder are making ridiculous claims instead of exercising self-reflection,” said Saenuri floor leader Rep. Choi Kyung-hwan.
Deputy vice floor leader Rep. Yoon Sang-hyun said, “The Roh Foundation is adding one lie after another to make excuses.”
By Lee Joo-hee