Thu, Aug 24, 2006 - Page 1 News List

KMT unveils particulars of party assets

NO APOLOGY The party's official report states its assets have shrunk to NT$27.7 billion. Lee Teng-hui was blamed for the biggest losses, but also praised for his bailout solutions

By Mo Yan-chih  /  STAFF REPORTER

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), which has been attacked over its stolen wealth, released a report on its assets yesterday, acknowledging its previous failure to explain the issue transparently while promising to put future assets into trust and stop operating for-profit corporations.

Despite acknowledging that the asset-acquiring procedures had lacked legitimacy and caused a negative public impression, KMT Chairman Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) declined to offer an apology.

"It happened during a special period, so there's no point in being too critical about it," Ma said.

"This issue can't be explained under normal circumstances, but I promise to maintain a clear separation of party, state and government in the future. This is our pledge, and the first step to the KMT's rebirth," he said.

The KMT report, entitled "Bidding farewell to the past and explaining to the people," claims to reveal the total value of the party's assets and how they have been handled under different chairmen dating back to Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).

According to the report, which KMT Deputy Secretary-General Chang Che-chen (張哲琛) and lawyer Lee Yung-jan (李永然) presented to the party's Central Standing Committee yesterday, the current value of the KMT's assets is NT$27.7 billion (US$848 million).

This makes Ma the poorest chairman, compared with former chairman Lee Teng-hui (李登輝), who controlled assets worth NT$38.5 billion and Lien Chan (連戰) with NT$80.8 billion.

While claiming that Lee Teng-hui, who served as KMT chairman from 1988 to 2000, was responsible for losses amounting to NT$42.7 billion because of bad domestic and foreign investments, the report gave the former chairman some credit for making the biggest profit and bringing assets' value to their peak of NT$91.8 billion in 1998.

"Although the bad investments happened under Lee Teng-hui's chairmanship, he was not the decision-maker in all of the deals, and so it would be unfair to blame him for the entire loss," Chang said yesterday at the party headquarters.

Chang said Lee Teng-hui had actually come up with most of the solutions to the bad investments made under his chairmanship.

The KMT deputy secretary-general said that the KMT would inquire into the legal responsibility of those responsible for the bad investments and request compensation for the party's losses.

Dividing the historical background of the assets into three periods, the report acknowledged that the KMT had used its "own discretion" in handling the assets in the first period -- the "one-party state" regime of Chiang Kai-shek and his son Chiang Ching-kuo (蔣經國) between 1940 and 1988.

The second period, from 1988 to 2000, which includes Lee's chairmanship, was labeled as a time when the KMT began to seek cooperation with private business. Investments in stock markets and real estate during the period sparked controversies over the party's involvement in corruption scandals, the report said.

After Lien took over the chairmanship in 2000, the KMT lost its position as governing party to the Democratic Progressive Party and began to "face the asset issue honestly," as both Lien and Ma prioritized the clean-up of party assets.

Under Ma's chairmanship, the KMT has sold five party assets, including its Policy Research and Development department, three media outlets and the party's former headquarters, for a total of NT$11.4 billion.

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