Parties Finally Agree to Hold Justice Minister Nominee's Confirmation Hearing

  • By Choi Seung-hyun, Choi Yeon-jin

    September 05, 2019 11:17

    Lawmakers agreed on Wednesday to let justice-minister nominee Cho Kuk have his confirmation hearing after all.

    The agreement came 23 days after Cho's nomination and amid a snowballing nepotism and financial scandal surrounding the candidate.

    Na Kyung-won, the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, reached an agreement with ruling Minjoo Party floor leader Lee In-young to let a one-day hearing go ahead.

    Justice minister nominee Cho Kuk talks to reporters at his temporary office in Seoul on Wednesday. /Newsis

    None of Cho's family members will be summoned as witnesses even though there are allegations of murky dealings in a hedge fund they own. Cho in a dramatic press conference Monday denied all knowledge of any of the irregularities that went on under his nose.

    The Minjoo Party pushed ahead with the hearing despite mounting public criticism of Cho's nomination, while the LKP did not want to miss its only chance to grill the candidate.

    Lawmakers originally agreed to a two to three-day confirmation hearing, but clashed over which of Cho's family members to summon as witnesses. It is unclear whether any witnesses will be called now.

    By law, witnesses must be given at least five days' notice in advance, but now only one day is left until the hearing and nothing can be done if any witnesses refuse to appear.

    Na said, "We can no longer force witnesses to appear at the hearing, but we should be able to reveal a considerable amount of the truth by questioning the candidate."

    Cho denies any hand in his daughter's dubious admissions and scholarship awards at top universities, which were at least partly based on her highly irregular inclusion among the lead authors of a medical research paper at Dankook University when she was a teenage intern there.

    He also denies knowing anything about how his family's hedge fund is run or what it does.

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