The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee is preparing for a hearing into the allegedly illegal land acquisitions and sales made by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) during its decades of one-party rule.
The Cabinet committee has scheduled a hearing on March 24 to probe how the KMT obtained plots of public land as “reimbursement” for its role in the Second Sino-Japanese War, including the transaction history of about 500 plots it transferred to itself free of charge after the Republic of China government’s takeover of Taiwan.
“The KMT believed that it should be reimbursed for its engagement in the Second Sino-Japanese War. Therefore, following the takeover [of Taiwan], it believed the government should repay it for the cost of the war, so lands were transferred to the KMT as reimbursement,” committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.
The appropriation of public lands with or without payment, almost without exception, is carried out between government agencies for public use, but the KMT as a party took the plots, Shih said.
“The plots were originally state-owned properties, and the KMT’s acquisition of them was illicit even though it believed that it had paid for them. However, we consider the handling [of the appropriation] to be inappropriate. The Control Yuan also previously issued a correction order,” she said.
The KMT was estimated to have gained about NT$1.2 billion (US$38.73 million at the current exchange rate) for the subsequent sales or expropriation of the lands, and it would be asked to return the proceeds to the Treasury if its acquisitions are determined to have been illegal, she said.
Most of the plots were transferred in the 1960s and 1970s; 452 plots measuring a total of 727,438m2 were sold, and nine, measuring a total of 3,248m2, were expropriated, Shih said, adding that most of the properties were sold to individuals, while some were expropriated by the governments of Taipei, Pingtung County and then-Tainan County.
There is no transaction data going back so far, so the NT$1.2 billion figure is an estimate based on the latest transaction data, without calculating any interest, she said.
Dozens more properties that the KMT did not sell were returned to the state or local governments during the 2000s.
“The appropriation involved only land transfers without cash, as the KMT, with its party-state system, had the final say over the Executive Yuan’s budget,” Shih said.
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