Culture Minister nominee Chung Sung-keun remains a sticking point in President Park Geun-hye’s Cabinet reshuffle as allegations pile up against him.
The main opposition New Politics Alliance for Democracy, whose floor leader Rep. Park Young-sun asked the president to withdraw Chung’s nomination, continued its attack Sunday citing the growing allegations against him.
Far from putting the allegations to rest, the confirmation hearing process has only strengthened the opposition’s attack against Chung.
While the hearing was adjourned over false testimony given by Chung, the culture minister nominee allegedly hosted a dinner involving heavy drinking for ministry and Arirang TV officials who helped him prepare for the hearing.
Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism officials, however, refuted the claim, saying that the atmosphere at the dinner was “gloomy” and that Chung was fatigued and barely touched his drink.
During the confirmation hearing, Chung backtracked on an earlier denial of any wrongdoings regarding the sale of property in southern Seoul. Chung has denied evading taxes on the sale of the property, but it has since been revealed that he had violated real estate sales regulations, as well as the Resident Registration Act.
It has also been revealed that Chung had given false testimony about his connection to a Saenuri Party member on the city council of Paju, Gyeonggi Province.
The Paju councilor allegedly provided Chung with the use of an office free of charge in return for Chung helping him recieveparty’s nomination in the June 4 local elections.
Although Chung initially claimed that he and the city councilor had no connection prior to him renting the office, it has since been revealed that the two had worked together on a Paju committee during the 2012 presidential election.
“Every explanation (Chung) gave at the confirmation hearing turns out to be a lie,” NPAD’s Rep. Park Hong-keun said Sunday, calling on the president to withdraw Chung’s nomination. Park claims that Chung was deeply involved in the candidate nomination process for Paju and that Chung gave preferential treatment to more than one candidate.
“The people have already judged (Chung) unfit. The president must make a decision.”
By Choi He-suk (firstname.lastname@example.org)