Kim Jin-wook, inaugural chief of the Corruption Investigation Office.

21 January 2021
A powerful investigative agency will be launched today (21 January 2021). Kim Jin-wook, the inaugural chief of the agency will be sworn in today. He was formerly a judge and will lead a team of 25 prosecutors and 40 investigators. The agency is set up to investigate corruption cases involving former and current public officials, including the president, lawmakers and prosecutors, as well as their families.

Many presently believe that the prosecution is not equal to the task of ferreting out corruption in the establishment that includes prosecutors themselves.

South Korea’s prosecutors have greater power than their counterparts in most countries. This will be seen from the fact 4 former presidents have been jailed. They are Lee Myung-bak, Park Geun-hye, Chun Doo-hwan and Roh Tae-woo.

Park Geun-hye’s father and longtime authoritarian dictator, was assassinated by his own intelligence chief in late 1979.

Apart from the presidents many ministers, members of the judiciary and business magnets have been jailed.

There was considerable objection to the passing of this law because those who opposed believed that some would be prosecuted for political reasons. In the case of jailed past presidents, their jail could be due to political revenge by the successor or corruption or both.

There was considerable opposition to the process of selection of the head of the anti-corruption body. Finally, the candidates were shortlisted by a committee dominated by sitting government officials.

Indictment by the anti-corruption body requires the approval of a committee comprising of citizens over 20 years old and without a license to practice law or legal education, much like the grand jury in the US.

Korea Herald and reported.