The prosecution recently accepted the resignation of a prosecutor under an internal corruption investigation without taking any disciplinary action against him, triggering criticism about its handling of a malfeasance case.
According to the Supreme Prosecutors’ Office, its audit division began a probe into a senior prosecutor in May after it was tipped off that he received gift certificates worth 1 million won ($976.4) in 2011 from his elementary school alumna and had an inappropriate relationship with her.
The prosecutor’s name was withheld from the media.
The probe found that he received the gift certificates. But they have failed to verify the allegations that he had an affair with the woman as she refused to show up for questioning, officials said.
After criticism surged about the prosecution letting the disgraced prosecutor leave office without any punishment, it argued that it had no reason to ask the Justice Ministry to reject the resignation.
The prosecution contended that what the prosecutor did was classified as a minor violation for which a resignation cannot be rejected. It said that a serious act of malfeasance would have forced him to go through harsh disciplinary procedures before being dismissed.
The latest case was made public as the law enforcement authorities struggle to shore up public trust in the wake of a series of corruption scandals involving prosecutors. Over the last several years, some prosecutors allegedly took bribes, while another had an inappropriate relationship with a female suspect and engaged in other unsavory behavior.
By Song Sang-ho (firstname.lastname@example.org)