Army Chief Resigns amid Investment Scandal, Sweeping Personnel Changes Expected
Army Chief of Staff Hwang Eui-don submitted a letter of resignation on Tuesday to President Lee Myung-bak as charges that the four-star general used inside information to purchase a property that saw a drastic increase in value over an eight-year period did not subside.
President Lee has accepted the resignation and Vice Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Cho Jong-hwan is set to become the acting Chief of Staff until a new head of the Army is inaugurated following a Cabinet meeting next week.
The Army says General Hwang decided to leave the top post due to allegations on his property purchase in 2002 and that he did not want to become a burden to the Army or the president.
The spokesperson for the Ministry of National Defense added that Hwang believed the allegations made him unsuitable as the Chief of Staff as the Army is set to undergo comprehensive reforms under the leadership of new Defense Minister Kim Kwan-jin .
The allegations come from an old two-story building he bought for around 650-thousand US dollars eight years ago which is now valued at just over five million.
At the time of the purchase, Hwang served as the Defense Ministry spokesperson and the building was under height restrictions by the ministry, but the regulation was eased only four months later and the general was able to build a new six-story building.
And due to Hwang's resignation a defense ministry official says general level officer promotion and position changes originally set to begin on Wednesday will now be pushed back by a day or two and the scope of the personnel shuffling will be much wider than before.
Kang Seok-ho, Arirang News.
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