Tue, Nov 02, 2004 - Page 1 News List

Cabinet sues KMT over `stolen' assets in Banciao

By Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Executive Yuan yesterday took legal action against the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to reclaim assets stolen from the state during its 50-year rule.

"After several rounds of fruitless negotiations and disappointing delays to legislation, we have no other alternative but to take legal action," Cabinet Spokesman Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) told a press conference yesterday morning.

The lawsuit was filed at the Banciao District Court yesterday by the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and the Directorate General of Telecommunications against the KMT-owned Broadcasting Corporation of China (BCC,中廣).

The government is seeking to revoke the company's ownership of eight lots located on Minzu Road in Banciao. The total value of the land is estimated at over NT$1.5 billion.

Chen said the KMT has assets worth about NT$20.1 billion that should be returned, but to date has handed back assets amounting to only NT$220 million, or 1 percent of the total.

"We'll continue to take legal action in the future, as we're still investigating some 800 lots and 500 houses whose transfer or acquisition process were question-able," Chen said.

Joseph Lin (林永頌), the representative of the Cabinet's five-member legal team, said the suit is aimed at preventing the KMT from selling the eight properties to a third party and warning potential buyers not to purchase the land.

Lin added that the suit is based on Article 11 of the State-Owned Properties Law (國有財產法), which mandates that only government agencies can be a legal manager of state property, and Article 28, which stipulates that state-owned property cannot be sold or management changed.

Vice Minister of Transportation and Communications Tsai Tui (蔡堆) said that the registration process for the eight lots of land in Banciao was questionable.

He said that after the Japanese defeat in World War II, the land was transferred to the state, while their management was registered under the Directorate General of Telecommunications and Directorate General of Posts (now the privatized Chunghwa Post).

On June 5, 1981, management was transferred to the BCC, and on Aug. 5, 1985, ownership was also shifted to the BCC.

In response, the BCC issued a three-point statement yesterday afternoon defending its ownership of the land.

The statement claimed that the company was the original owner of the properties but that they were erroneously registered under the Directorate General of Telecommunications during the registration process.

"The land was part of the reward the government paid for our cooperation with its broadcasting policy," the statement said. "According to the contract signed with the government, we were not allowed to run any commercials but would get subsidies from them."

In addition to claiming that all of its assets were legally acquired, registered and owned, the company criticized the lawsuit as an "obvious political maneuver" in the run-up to the legislative elections.

"We feel terribly sorry and are distraught over the government's abuse of taxpayer dollars and over its power to badger the radio industry," the statement said.

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