Corruption Investigation Office
For High-ranking Officials
There has been public discussion on the necessity to establish Corruption Investigation Office For High-ranking Officials (CIO) since the early 1990’s. In November 1996, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy made public a draft of Corruption Prevention Act and highlighted the significance of setting up a special investigation body, dedicated to corruption cases involving high ranking officials. The same year, 80 lawmakers including Ryu Jae-gun sponsored an act stipulating the establishment of corruption investigation office for high-ranking officials. The government started to pay attention to establishment of the investigation body in 1999. In 2002, People’s Solidarity for Participatory Democracy filed a petition to legislate a law on the establishment of CIO. Under the proposed act, CIO would be operated under the presidential office and granted powers to prosecution, investigation, and execution.
President Moon Jae-in took office in May 2017 after impeachment of former president Park Geun-hye. The government selected the establishment of CIO as one of top 100 national tasks, which is the main way to root out corruption of high-ranking officials. The Ministry of Justice announced the government plan by stipulating the ‘Law of the Justice and Prosecution Reform Committee.’
In April 2019, bills, proposed by lawmakers of Paik Hye-ryun and law maker Kwon Eun-hee respectively, were designated as the proposals requiring fast track procedures. Besides, more than 10 bills related to the establishment of CIO were presented in the 20th Assembly.
For the past 25 years, more than 20 bills were proposed to establish CIO. Finally, the bill on establishing the CIO was passed by the National Assembly on December 30, 2019.
The current government tries to reform the prosecution and proposes the reform of investigation authority between the prosecution and the police as well as the establishment of CIO as one of top national tasks.
Regarding the adjustment of investigative power between the prosecution and the police, the ruling party and the opposition party iron out difference by the Special Committee on Justice Reform after the Minister of Justice and the Minister of Public Administration and Security reach an agreement on the issue. However, two parties can not narrow the disagreement in the establishment of CIO.
The majority of people have supported the establishment of CIO, thus, it is imperative that lawmakers should review issues of the bill and present practical solutions for pending issues.
In addition, as there are many issues related to the operation of CIO, it is expected that further research on the issue can reduce trials and errors in the operation of CIO and help it take a firm root.