Prosecution Slammed for Scaling Down Probes into Campaign Funds

Korea Times (Seoul, Korea), January 18, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Prosecution Slammed for Scaling Down Probes into Campaign Funds


The prosecution has come under mounting attack for attempting to scale down its investigation into the illegal campaign funding scheme.

Civic groups yesterday slammed the prosecution for losing its independence from political power by trying to wrap up the case without conducting thorough and fair probes.

Citizens reacted angrily to Tuesday's remarks by Deputy Prosecutor-General Shin Seung-nam that the prosecution would not summon about 200 politicians who received illegal campaign funds diverted from the nation's spy agency during the 1996 general elections.

The recipients of the illegal funds were candidates of the then-ruling New Korea Party (NKP), predecessor of the main opposition Grand National Party (GNP). Most of them are now GNP lawmakers or party members.

The prosecution reneged on its previous hard-line stance that it would bring charges against those who accepted the diverted campaign funds regardless of whether they knew the money stemmed from the Agency for National Security Planning (NSP) or not.

Shin made it clear that the prosecution has found it almost impossible to bring charges against the recipients because they received the money without realizing the money was diverted from the NSP's budget.

He also said the prosecution would not take steps to retrieve the diverted funds from the former NKP candidates.

Civic groups speculated that the government and the ruling Millennium Democratic Party (MDP) have made a political compromise regarding the investigation with the GNP, who has been threatening to stage an all-out struggle against the Kim administration in a bid to call for a halt to the probes.

``The prosecution has given too much political consideration to the campaign fund scheme, giving up its neutrality and independence from political power,'' Lee Jae-myong, a representative of the People's Solidarity for Participatory Democracy (PSPD), said.

He accused the prosecution of neglecting its duty to conduct a thorough investigation into the illegal funding scheme, which sent shockwaves throughout the country.

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Prosecution Slammed for Scaling Down Probes into Campaign Funds
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