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(LEAD) Moon's aide requests probe into alleged irregularities by presidential special inspectors

Politics 15:23 November 30, 2018

(ATTN: ADDS more details in last 6 paras)

SEOUL, Nov. 30 (Yonhap) -- President Moon Jae-in's aide for civil affairs asked prosecutors and police Friday to swiftly investigate suspected irregularities involving some officials who were dispatched to the presidential office to inspect government ministries.

The presidential office Cheong Wa Dae on Thursday replaced a team of special inspectors over allegations that one member from the prosecution privately visited the national police agency last month to get information over their probe into a corruption case involving the official's acquaintance.

There is also speculation that some team members have played golf during work hours. All the inspectors were ordered to return to their original organizations.

Cho Kuk, the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs, requested prosecutors and police investigate such allegations swiftly and thoroughly.

"My office judged that the team will not do its job, given the fact that some of its members allegedly committed irregularities. That's why we've decided to return them to their organizations for overhaul," he said in a message to reporters.

The move came amid growing criticism of improper behavior by some presidential officials.

A week ago, a senior secretary to Moon offered to resign as he was caught by police while driving under the influence of alcohol.

Earlier this month, a public servant working at the presidential security office was booked without physical detention on a charge of beating a citizen at a bar.

Conservative parties attacked the presidential office for its officials' lack of discipline.

"The people are reeling from economic difficulties, but presidential special inspectors enjoyed swinging golf clubs during working hours," Kim Sung-tae, the floor leader of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, said at a meeting with party officials.

"Secretary Cho should apologize to the public and step down from his post," he added.

This photo, taken on Nov. 20, 2018, shows President Moon Jae-in (L) and Cho Kuk, the senior presidential secretary for civil affairs. (Yonhap)


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