Sun, Dec 21, 2003 - Page 1 News List

DPP, KMT lock horns over assets

`ILLEGAL' GAINS The DPP has accused the KMT of stealing from Taiwan during its rule and demands the party return assets to the people that is rightfully theirs

By Lin Chieh-yu  /  STAFF REPORTER

Top DPP politicians yesterday added further fuel to the fire on the issue of the KMT's disputed assets, saying that even though the KMT had proclaimed itself to have disposed of almost all of its property, it had yet to return assets stolen from the government in previous decades.

"We approve of the KMT's announcement that it has renounced ownership of two major buildings and seven movie theaters, and the Cabinet has assigned the Minister of Finance to liaise with the KMT to establish a mechanism for the transfer of those assets," Premier Yu Shyi-kun said.

"But I appeal to KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) to carry out his promise to deal with all disputes over assets, and I would ask People First Party [PFP] Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) whether he really has no qualms about using such assets as campaign funds."

Yu also denied speculation that the DPP's pursuit of disputed KMT assets amounted to nothing more than electioneering, with the presidential election now only weeks away. He said that the party was acting only now because of the KMT's obstruction in the Legislative Yuan of the Cabinet's bill on disposition of improperly obtained assets by political parties.

"The ruling party would not pursue [improperly gained] assets just because of an election, nor would it shirk from doing so just because of an election," he said.

"Some media organizations are claiming that the KMT is not in a position to return any assets at present, since it is not in possession of all of them," he said.

"I must stress that even though the KMT is no longer in power, those assets must be pursued. A heavy gambler cannot borrow US$100,000, gamble it all away and then say he has nothing left with which to repay the loan," he said.

President Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁) yesterday also asked Lien to clean up the KMT's assets and return the people's property to the people. He reminded grassroots activists that the KMT had "plundered the people's and the country's assets over a long period of time."

"The public has always complained that during the authoritarian KMT era, the state treasury led to the party treasury and the party treasury led to personal insurance funds," Chen said.

"Now, even as KMT presidential candidate Lien claims that he has already dealt with his party's disputed assets, KMT headquarters has listed numerous items whose ownership records are in dispute," he said.

"The public wants to know why on earth the KMT's assets were stolen from the government," Chen said.

Chen also said that the real purpose of the KMT's placing party assets into trust was simply to purchase further assets secretly, including, he said, assets of NT$2.4 trillion and more than 1,700 billion shares since 2000.

Meanwhile, yesterday, DPP Legislator Tuan Yi-kang (段宜康) went to the KMT headquarters to ask the party to reimburse the government for what he called its "theft of government land to build the party's office buildings."

"The land which KMT headquarters occupies was in 1990 sold to the party at less than 10 percent of its market value at the time, a price of up to NT$40 billion less than its true value.

"The KMT government, already involved in squandering illegal profits, sold the land cheaply to the KMT. Lien Chan must return to the people the improperly gained assets acquired [in this way]," Tuan said.

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