The leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party on Monday called for a probe into the growing suspicion that the prosecution has offered improper funds to the justice ministry.
Hong Joon-pyo made the call apparently as a counteroffensive to the ongoing investigations into the allegations that the National Intelligence Service had provided illicit money to the presidential office during the former Park Geun-hye government.
Reports have said that the prosecution has given 10.5 billion won ($9.5 million), part of its annual "special activity funds," to the justice ministry that oversees the prosecution's personnel and other key affairs.
|Hong Joon-pyo, the leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, speaks to the press at the Incheon International Airport, west of Seoul, on Nov. 20, 2017. (Yonhap)|
"The justice minister and prosecutor-general must face investigations," Hong told reporters before departing for Vietnam on a trip aimed largely at supporting Korean businesses operating in the Southeast Asian state.
"The funds (the prosecution has offered to the ministry) are no different from the NIS' special activity funds (allegedly given to the presidential office)," Hong added.
The prosecution has recently arrested two former NIS directors for their alleged role in the NIS' suspected payments of at least 4 billion won to Ahn Bong-geun and Lee Jae-man, two aides to Park from 2013 to 2016.
It also requested a writ to detain Lee Byong-ho, another NIS director, but a Seoul court rejected the request, citing no flight risk.
Demanding a parliamentary hearing over the prosecution's alleged offer of its funds to the ministry, the LKP said that the two issues, including one involving the NIS, have to be "equally and fairly" dealt with.
"The prosecution's purported offer of the funds is tantamount to embezzlement or a loss of state funds," Chang Je-won, an LKP spokesman, told reporters. "The ministry and prosecution have to make confessions on this." (Yonhap)