A local civic group filed fraud charges against the Education Minister-designate Kim Myung-soo on Monday, and called on authorities to investigate him for misconduct during his days as a professor.
The Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice accused the 66-year-old of illegally taking government funds for research that was in fact conducted by his students. It added that Kim has received a total of 12.7 million won ($12,573) by taking credit for someone else’s work.
Kim is also believed to have received 20 million won in 2004 for research he had already conducted before obtaining the money.
|Kim Myung-soo, education minister-designate. (Yonhap)|
“The most fitting place for Kim right now is not the parliamentary hearing, but a court of law. Police must immediately kick off an investigation into this matter,” the CCEJ said in a press conference held in front of the Seoul Central District Prosecutors’ Office. “If President Park tries to sugar-coat Kim into a ‘victim’ of the tough verification process (of the ministerial candidates), it will be hard for her to regain the trust of citizens,” the CCEJ said.
In addition to supposedly shady research funds, Kim’s alleged misdeeds during his tenure at the Korea National University of Education include plagiarizing up to 11 academic papers, illegally funding a politician, and preparing for his classes poorly.
Kim also faced questions over a large amount of money that was recently transferred to his wife’s bank account, for which Kim did not provide an explanation.
With a barrage of accusations falling on the embattled nominee, Koreans appear to have little faith in Kim as the new education minister. A recent survey by a local daily of 800 adults showed that 71. 4 percent of the respondents said Kim was “not qualified” to be the education minister.
The survey also showed that an increasing number of people are losing confidence in the Park administration for its apparent lack of judgment in picking new candidates for the Cabinet. About 65.6 percent said that Park’s picks for the new ministers were unsatisfactory, illustrating the public’s disapproval of the nomination mess.
Last month, Prime Minister-designate Moon Chang-keuk bowed out amid mounting criticism over past controversial remarks. It was the second time that a prime minister nominee had withdrawn his candidacy, and incumbent premier Chung Hong-won will now keep his job despite announcing his resignation in April.
By Yoon Min-sik (firstname.lastname@example.org)