The Korea Herald


Opposition resists launching agency to probe officials

By Kim So-hyun

Published : Oct. 15, 2019 - 13:27

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Following Justice Minister Cho Kuk’s resignation Monday, the Liberty Korea Party reiterated its opposition to establishing a separate agency for the investigation of crimes by senior government officials.

The bill to set up the agency is among the fast-tracked bills on prosecution reform, which the main opposition party insists should be reconsidered from square one.

The Liberty Korea Party and minor opposition Bareunmirae Party have accused the ruling Democratic Party of trying to stop the investigation into corruption allegations involving Cho’s family by passing the bill for the new investigative agency and having it handle the case.

They also say the incumbent administration may abuse the new agency to eliminate political opponents.

Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won (Yonhap) Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won (Yonhap)

Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Na Kyung-won said Tuesday the agency was “absolutely impossible.”

“The appointment of Cho was just an incident symbolic of this administration’s incompetence, hypocrisy and tyranny. State affairs are still besieged by amateurs. We must put everything back to where it was,” Na said in a meeting at the National Assembly.

“President Moon Jae-in and those in power are deeply wrong if they think the public’s anger was just for Cho Kuk’s resignation. … The October resistance starts now.”

Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hwang Kyo-ahn said in a statement Monday that the bill for the investigative agency was “the Moon Jae-in administration’s scenario to extend its rule,” and therefore should be handed over to the next National Assembly.\

On the other hand, the Democratic Party stressed that the agency was the core of the prosecution reform, which it has vowed to complete.

“The essence of the prosecution reform is to establish the agency for the investigation of crimes by senior officials, which a vast majority of Koreans are supporting,” Democratic Party Floor Leader Lee In-young said Tuesday.

Meanwhile, Bareunmirae Party Floor Leader Oh Shin-hwan said Tuesday that his party was against the ruling party’s proposal to deal with the prosecution reform bills first.

Two bills on establishing the agency for the investigation of senior officials -- one proposed by a ruling party lawmaker and another by a Bareunmirae legislator -- have been placed on the fast track.

Oh said the Democratic Party’s bill -- which bestows the prosecution’s authority on the agency and has the president appoint all the investigators -- would be like reviving the 1980s anti-communist investigative unit under the presidential office.

Representatives of the three parties plan to hold a meeting Wednesday to discuss the fast-tracked bills, which include those on electoral reform.

By Kim So-hyun