Tue, May 16, 2017 - Page 1 News List

KMT may have to pay NT$900m for appropriated assets

‘UNCONSTITUTIONAL?’The KMT has claimed that its acquisition of the ex-Japanese government’s assets were compensation for its wartime expenses

By Chen Wei-han  /  Staff reporter

The Cabinet is to demand up to NT$900 million (US$29.84 million) in compensation from the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) for misappropriation and sales of national properties during its one-party rule.

The KMT vowed to defend itself against the “unconstitutional action.”

The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee is to order the KMT to return proceeds from sales of public assets it took over from the Japanese colonial government, with the amount estimated between NT$800 million and NT$900 million, committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said yesterday.

Following its defeat in the Chinese Civil War and retreat to Taiwan, the KMT took over properties formerly owned by the Japanese government through a method called “transfer and appropriation.”

The KMT had voluntarily given up some of the properties it acquired through this method, but it sold 458 properties — eight of which were expropriated by the government — totaling about 73 hectares, the committee said.

Those properties and sales proceeds should be recognized as ill-gotten party assets that have to be returned to the state, the committee said.

The committee originally estimated that the KMT had earned NT$1.24 billion from sales of appropriated properties, but has since lowered the estimate, with the final figure to be available shortly, Shih said.

The committee would issue a formal demand to the KMT by the end of this month at the earliest, which would be the first committee order to seek financial recovery, she said.

The KMT has claimed that it shouldered wartime expenses for the government, and that “transfer and appropriation” was a means to recompense the party for the expenses and that its acquisition of former Japanese assets was therefore legal and legitimate.

The KMT would not respect any “illegal and unconstitutional executive orders,” and the party would take legal action against the committee to seek remedies, KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director Hu Wen-chi (胡文琦) said.

“The assets committee has ignored the rule of law and historical context in its handling of KMT assets, and the compensation order is being made to revive the Democratic Progressive Party administration’s flagging approval rating,” Hu said.

He called on the assets committee to investigate former president Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and People First Party Chairman James Soong (宋楚瑜) for their use of KMT assets presumed to be ill-gotten to establish a think tank or a foundation.

If the KMT refuses to comply with the order, the assets committee would refer the case to the Administrative Enforcement Agency for compulsory execution of the order, Shih said.

The KMT is entitled to appeal the order and seek administrative relief, which could lead to a protracted legal process, she added.

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