President Moon Jae-in has ordered a comprehensive investigation not only into allegations of illegal property purchases by employees of Korea Land and Housing Corporation(LH) but also other related government and public officials.
Presidential Spokesperson Kang Min-seok said on Wednesday that Moon commanded an “exhaustive” investigation into land transactions by officials handling property development at the Land Ministry, LH, and other related public organizations.
Moon ordered the probe not only to cover land deals in Gwangmyeong and Siheung in Gyeonggi Province but all other regions in the nation recently designated as New Town refurbishing project sites. Family members of those officials will also be subject to the investigation.
A key presidential official told reporters on Wednesday that the scope of the investigation may further expand, assessing the presidential instruction as a show of his strong will to root out such illicit practices.
Under the instructions, an investigation will be jointly carried out by the Land Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office, under the leadership of the latter. Those found to have committed any illegalities will face grave consequences such as criminal accusations, Moon said.
On Tuesday, two civic groups claimed around 10 employees of LH had purchased 23-thousand square meters of land in the two southwestern Gyeonggi cities of Gwangmyeong and Siheung months and years ahead of last week’s New Town site announcement.
Regarding concerns the allegations may negatively affect housing supply policies under Land Minister Byun Chang-heum, who was the head of LH when the alleged purchases occurred, the senior presidential official said the minister will ensure his housing mandates are pursued by carrying out thorough investigations into the suspicions.