The Supreme Prosecutors’ Office on Tuesday launched an audit into alleged irregularities in the probe into the National Intelligence Service.
According to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, Acting Prosecutor General Kil Tae-ki ordered an audit, saying the NIS probe would be conducted without political considerations regardless of the audit’s results.
“The truth behind the problem that arose will be revealed through a stringent audit,” Supreme Prosecutors’ office spokesman Koo Bon-seon said. He added that the NIS probe would be carried out according to the law and principle.
“The prosecution’s will to handle the case fairly remains firm despite the disgraceful developments.”
The audit is likely to focus on Yoon Seok-yeol, head of the prosecutors’ office for Gyeonggi Province’s Yeoju, and Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office chief Cho Young-gon. Yoon, who had headed the NIS probe, was removed from the investigation over allegations of insubordination, while Cho has been accused of hampering Yoon’s inquiries.
Koo, however, declined to elaborate on the scope of the audit, saying only that Kil’s orders were to investigate “various problems and controversies” that arose in the process of investigating the NIS for allegedly interfering in last year’s presidential election in favor of President Park Geun-hye.
The prosecution’s probe raised controversies of its own following the removal of Yoon as its chief investigator after he allegedly ignored protocol in modifying the arraignment notice on the case and in arresting NIS agents.
Yoon, however, told lawmakers at Monday’s parliamentary audit that he had reported his actions to Cho beforehand. Yoon also said that Cho became rattled by his report and responded by saying “help the opposition party,” and that it would steps should be taken “after I submit my resignation.”
In addition, Yoon alleged that the investigation had been influenced by politically motivated superiors from the outset, and that Minister of Justice Hwang Kyo-ahn is unlikely to have been ignorant of such goings on.
Cho, who denied Yoon’s allegations at Monday’s parliamentary audit, had requested he be subjected to an audit before Kil issued the orders.
Meanwhile the main opposition Democratic Party stepped up its protests over the issue adding Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office chief Cho Young-gon to the list of officials it is calling to be removed from office.
The DP has been calling for the removal of NIS chief Nam Jae-joon, Minister of Veterans and Patriots Affairs Park Sung-choon and the justice minister in connection with the related developments.
The DP accused Nam of revealing a classified 2007 inter-Korean summit transcript to select ruling party lawmakers, while the Veterans Ministry has been shown to have produced politically biased educational booklets ahead of last year’s general and presidential elections.
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org