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Gov't announces reorganization to reduce prosecution's direct investigation

All News 20:53 January 13, 2020

SEOUL, Jan. 13 (Yonhap) -- The Justice Ministry on Monday unveiled a plan to reorganize the prosecution in line with a reform policy to reduce its investigative authority.

Under the plan, the ministry will push to halve the number of units under the anti-corruption department at the Seoul Central District Prosecutors Office from four to two, while also reducing the number of units of the public security department to two from three.

The plan also includes scrapping five of public security units at district offices across the nation, leaving only eight such units. Those divisions will be transferred to criminal and trial affairs departments, according to the ministry.

The move will likely speed up probes on criminal cases, which had been delayed as prosecutors were more often dispatched to investigate "cases that received the spotlight," it added.

South Korea's national flag and the flag for the prosecution service fly in front of the Supreme Prosecutors Office in southern Seoul in this file photo. (Yonhap)

The envisioned change will affect teams that have been probing major cases, including the investigation of former Justice Minister Cho Kuk's family's alleged academic fraud and financial wrongdoing, as well as presidential officials' suspected election meddling.

The ministry, meanwhile, said the organizational change is expected to help prepare for changes in the investigative environment, citing recent reform bills approved by parliament.

President Moon Jae-in's prosecution reform drive has made dramatic progress of late. The National Assembly has recently passed a set of bills on establishing an independent anti-corruption investigative agency and giving more investigative power to police.

Currently, police are able to initiate probes but do not have the authority to close them without prosecution approval. Only prosecutors can file indictments in direct control of police investigation.


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