Wed, Mar 29, 2017 - Page 1 News List

Control Yuan queries party assets law

ACTING OUTThe assets committee can probe KMT finances from 1945 and can freeze party assets without a court order, which may be deemed unconstitutional

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-jin, center, and other DPP lawmakers in Taipei yesterday criticize the Control Yuan for questioning the constitutionality of the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The Control Yuan has filed a request for a constitutional interpretation of the law on ill-gotten party assets, with legislators saying the agency has overstepped its boundaries and subscribed to the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) ideology.

Members of the Control Yuan on March 14 unanimously approved an investigation report that questions the constitutionality of the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例), based on which a request for constitutional interpretation was filed.

The act presumes that KMT assets were illicitly obtained and places the burden of proof on the KMT instead of the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, the Control Yuan report said.

The act allows the committee to probe any KMT assets dating back to Aug. 15, 1945, which is beyond the statute of limitations for murder — 30 years — the nation’s longest limitation period.

The act also authorizes the committee to freeze KMT assets without a court order.

These stipulations might make the act unconstitutional, the report said.

The Control Yuan cannot request a constitutional interpretation unless there is ambiguity in its scope of jurisdiction, but the request infringes on the separation of powers by challenging the Legislative Yuan’s legislative rights, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Yeh Yi-jin (葉宜津) said.

The act was promulgated to facilitate transitional justice and consolidate democracy and is an administrative law dealing with administrative orders, lawsuits and relief measures, Yeh said, adding that the principle of the presumption of innocence is not applicable to an administrative act.

The Control Yuan is the nation’s highest supervisory body and has three scopes of authority — launching impeachments, enforcing corrective measures and auditing; its powers and functions have nothing to do with ill-gotten party assets, DPP Legislator Chen Chi-mai (陳其邁) said.

The Control Yuan is overstepping the constitutional boundaries between government bodies and its members should stop “abiding by the orders of former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九),” who appointed them, Chen said.

New Power Party Legislator Huang Kuo-chang (黃國昌) said the Control Yuan had subscribed to the KMT’s ideology.

The report described KMT assets as the “product of changes in the Constitution and having the localized quality of the Republic of China Constitution,” Huang said.

“Are ill-gotten party assets amassed during the KMT’s one-party rule the localization of the Constitution?” Huang asked. “It is unbelievable that the Control Yuan ignores the constitutional significance of the ill-gotten party assets act, but justifies the ‘constitutionality’ of party assets gathered during one-state rule.”

The goal of transitional justice is to amend the wrongs made against democracy and the Constitution during the KMT regime, but the Control Yuan’s report is in apparent conflict with that idea, Huang said.

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