Cheong Wa Dae to Reopen Ferry Disaster Probe

  • By Jeong Woo-sang

    May 24, 2017 10:46

    Cheong Wa Dae is mulling a second special commission to reopen the investigation into the 2014 ferry disaster, government sources said Tuesday.

    One outcrop of the massive corruption scandal than brought down ex-President Park Geun-hye has been allegations that the presidential office meddled in the original probe, while it is still unknown where Park was for seven hours when the ferry sank off the southwest coast on April 16, 2014.

    Cheong Wa Dae and the minority-ruling Minjoo Party believe it will be hard to win a parliamentary majority on a bill, now pending, for a fresh special investigation by the National Assembly. But a presidential commission can be launched by executive order.

    Cheong Wa Dae has already contacted members of the first investigative commission whose mandate came to an end last September. Alternatively it is considering a special agency that could be set up by the National Assembly or an audit by the Board of Audit and Inspection.

    "A presidential commission can start again from scratch, though its authority is more limited than a special commission launched by legislation," a senior presidential official said.

    Reopening the probe was one election pledge of President Moon Jae-in's. "The new government should launch another investigation as soon as possible to find out the whole truth," Moon said on the campaign trail on April 16. "I would issue an executive order to reactivate the probe even if the National Assembly fails to pass the bill."

    Park's Liberty Korea Party opposes a fresh probe, arguing that the tragedy has already been sufficiently investigated.

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