Korean presidential scandal: Dynamics of Corruption

SEOUL, Nov. 4, 2016 (Xinhua) -- People watch TV broadcasting South Korean President Park Geun-hye addressing the nation, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 4, 2016. South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Friday that she will accept an investigation into herself, if necessary, by prosecutors over a scandal surrounding Choi Soon-sil, the president's longtime confidante suspected of intervening into state affairs. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)(axy)

SEOUL, Nov. 4, 2016 (Xinhua) — People watch TV broadcasting South Korean President Park Geun-hye addressing the nation, at a train station in Seoul, South Korea, Nov. 4, 2016. South Korean President Park Geun-hye said Friday that she will accept an investigation into herself, if necessary, by prosecutors over a scandal surrounding Choi Soon-sil, the president’s longtime confidante suspected of intervening into state affairs. (Xinhua/Yao Qilin)

Mahatma Gandhi said, “The world has enough for everyone’s need, but not enough for everyone’s greed.” However, Indian politicians are bent upon proving Gandhi wrong. They continue to vie with each other in amassing wealth by using every tool in the rule book.

Throughout human history, the rich and powerful have succumbed to greed and temptation. They are driven to amass more and more wealth even when they already have enough to live more than a decent life.

The declining morality of the political and business elite across the world has touched a new low. Every time a scandal hits the headlines, people believe it cannot get worse, until a new scandal surfaces.

One scandal that is currently making headlines in the world media is the case of South Korean President, President Park Geun-hye. In early December last year, the Parliament passed an impeachment motion stripping her of her Executive Powers.

Park is accused of colluding with a friend to pressure businesses to make contributions to her policy initiatives. Park’s lawyer, Lee Joong-hwan, said the accusations stated in the impeachment bill “lack evidence and fail to make legal sense”. The contention is they were based on allegations and media reports, not criminal convictions.

Park has refused to testify before the nine-judge bench, while South Koreans continue to hold protest marches in large numbers.

According to a report published in the Times of India, “The National Assembly ballot transfers Park’s authority to the prime minister, pending a decision by the Constitutional Court on whether to ratify the decision and permanently remove the President from office. A ruling could take up to six months, during which time Park will remain in the presidential Blue House while the country faces an extended period of political uncertainty and policy paralysis”.

In India too, media is replete with corruption cases and nexus between politicians and industry honchos. Public rallies in 2013-14 saw a groundswell of people on the streets. Masses were shouting slogans against the corrupt government headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, steered by an extra-constitutional power, Sonia Gandhi, widow of ex-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh was head of the government for ten years that lost the next general elections. He was subsequently summoned by a trial court in March last year. Singh is accused of criminal conspiracy and corruption in the illegal allocation of coal mines to crony capitalists.

Like the South Korean President Park, Singh is also being investigated for criminal breach of trust, criminal conspiracy, cheating, and corruption. Perhaps the only difference is that while Park refused to testify, Mr. Singh has appeared before the court.

What is the genesis of such alleged corruption in high places? Is it restricted to India or South Korea? The clear answer is a big “No”. Google Search provides a Hall of Fame list of the most corrupt heads of states in the world.

According to Arun Kumar of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis, “Corruption is not a recent phenomenon. It has precisely been defined as a deviant human behavior, associated with the motivation of private gain at public expense and, as such, has persisted for centuries. Corruption promotes illegality, unethical, subjectivity, inequity, injustice, waste, inefficiency and inconsistency in administrative conduct and behavior. It destroys the moral fabric of society and erodes the faith of the common man in the legitimacy of the politico-administrative set up”.

It is only a matter of time until either nation’s court convicts whom first. Will President Park come out clean before Indian Prime Minister is convicted for his wrong doing?

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