Mon, Aug 21, 2006 - Page 1 News List

KMT to release its asset report

STOLEN?The soon-to-be released data says that the party lost more than US$1 billion during the tenure of former chairman and president Lee Teng-hui

By Shih Hsiu-chuan and Ko Shu-ling  /  STAFF REPORTERS

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which has long been attacked over its ill-gotten wealth, will release a report on its assets on Wednesday, but pan-green lawmakers said the problem won't be solved until the KMT returns its stolen assets to the country.

"Nobody really knew how the party managed its assets in the past. Through the report, we will make the ins-and-outs of our assets transparent," KMT caucus whip Tsai Chin-lung (蔡錦隆) told the Taipei Times yesterday.

Tsai said the report will include a detailed balance sheet from which people can learn about the party's businesses and assets under each KMT chairman.

Tsai quoted the report as saying that former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who served as KMT chairman from 1988 to 2000, is responsible for NT$42.7 billion (US$1.309 billion) in losses because of bad investments.

According to Tsai, the report said that Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) had earned the KMT NT$10 billion by disposing of assets -- which many detractors consider laundering stolen property -- and used the income for the party's retirement fund.

Ma has been accused by some of selling the party's land on the cheap after he succeeded Lien Chan (連戰) as chairman in July last year.

"The preliminary estimate in the report is that the asset value is NT$27.7 billion. However, considering retirement pensions, loans made by party-run businesses and unrealized losses on investments, the net asset value is only about NT$6 billion," Tsai said.

The report will be released during the KMT's Central Standing Committee meeting on Wednesday.

Ma said previously that the party would unveil all of its assets in an open, transparent and comprehensive manner, and would not try to hide from any questions.

The KMT took over countless assets from the Japanese colonial government and private businesses and individuals when it took control of Taiwan, which its rivals describe as theft.

Commenting on the issue, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) caucus whip Yeh Yi-ching (葉宜津) said that merely making the disposition of the assets transparent was not good enough.

"Given that these party assets are stolen, the KMT should return the remaining assets to the country and people and return the money for assets it has sold to third parties," Yeh said, adding that KMT should tell the people how it had spent its wealth.

The Ministry of Finance has asked the KMT to hand over 144.51 hectares of real estate -- with a market value of NT$21.9 billion -- but the KMT has returned only 1.86 hectares, a mere 1.29 percent of the total, the ministry's statistics showed.

The KMT, however, argues that all of its assets were lawfully obtained, and says it has legal documentation to prove the legitimacy of the assets.

DPP Spokesman Tsai Huang-liang (蔡煌瑯) yesterday said that immediate action was required to reclaim the KMT's stolen assets.

In a bid to pressure the KMT to return its stolen party assets, the DPP is planning to present a signed petition to the Central Election Commission (CEC) for review on Wednesday to pave the way for a national referendum on reclaiming the KMT's improperly acquired assets.

"The reason that we picked Wednesday to present the petition to the CEC is that we would like to raise public awareness of the long-standing issue," he said.

Tsai Huang-liang said that he hoped the CEC would complete the review process of the petition within a month so they can launch the second stage of the signature campaign.

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