Wed, Nov 03, 2004 - Page 1 News List

TSU wants KMT to apologize for not reimbursing bank

CNA , TAIPEI

The Taiwan Solidarity Union (TSU) yesterday asked the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) to apologize to the public and return the money it owes the Bank of Taiwan, while the KMT said the delay in repayment has been caused by its dire financial straits.

TSU Legislator Chen Chien-ming (陳建銘) noted that KMT officials have long been able to enjoy a premium 18 percent deposit rate at the Bank of Taiwan, with the KMT paying 16.5 percent of the interest and the bank paying the other 1.5 percent.

However, as the party has not been remitting the money for the 16.5 percent interest payments to the bank since the March 20 presidential election, it now owes the bank a total of NT$300 million (US$8.64 million) for the KMT officials' deposits.

Chen questioned why the KMT officials enjoy such a premium rate when the average person only gets around 1.5 percent for a one-year term deposit.

He urged the KMT to face the issue squarely, apologize to the people soon, and return the due interest payments.

In response to reports that the bank plans to seek repayment from the KMT and wants to terminate its contract with the party, a KMT official said the party is coordinating with the bank on repaying the money.

Lin Yung-jui (林永瑞), deputy director of the KMT administrative management committee, said the party and the bank are discussing how the money should be repaid. Lin also said that there were no plans to terminate the contract.

Liu Chien-sung (劉建崧), president of the KMT workers guild, said the party signed a contract with the Bank of Taiwan to allow the party officials who retired before Feb. 28, 1997 the same premium treatment given by the government to retired servicemen, civil servants and teachers, meaning an 18 percent deposit rate for deposits of up to NT$1.8 million.

Liu said that the NT$300 million is only the "tip of the iceberg" of the party's financial difficulties, noting that the KMT officials who retired in August have yet to get their retirement payments, while those who retired in September were asked to wait for the payments, with no interest payments during the waiting period.

The TSU also pointed out the problem of veterans claiming subsidies they were not entitled to.

Due to negligence on the part of Veterans Affairs Commission officials, Chen said 6,700 unqualified veterans have received a monthly stipend of NT$13,550, or around NT$180,000 a year for more than a decade, resulting in a loss of NT$12.2 billion to the national coffers.

Chen asked the commission to review the situation, seek to return the money, and punish the negligent officials over the matter.

The commission said that the number of veterans on the subsidy list for next year has already been cut.

They said that with veterans aging and dying, and with some others who no longer require subsidies, there will be just 98,000 veterans on next year's lists, 6,700 less than this year.

The officials said the commission regularly checks the status of the veterans and will stop subsidies once their lives are improved. The commission will ask veteran service centers and nursing homes to step up verification of the conditions of the veterans.

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