Wed, Jan 24, 2018 - Page 1 News List

KMT accuses assets committee of feeding false news

By Stacy Hsu, Chen Yu-fu and Jonathan Chin  /  Staff reporters, with staff writer

Tension between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Executive Yuan’s Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee escalated again yesterday, as the party accused the committee of feeding the media with false allegations that the KMT had sold nearly 1,000 plots of land over the past two decades.

“The KMT is broken-hearted and disgusted by a news report published today [yesterday] alleging that the party had sold plots of land. The committee’s repeated attempts to feed the media unfounded accusations to slander the KMT is despicable and unjust,” KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said, referring to a report in the Chinese-

language Liberty Times (the Taipei Times’ sister paper).

The committee’s investigations have found that the KMT has regularly refilled its “war chest” by selling properties to corporate entities under its control, such as Central Investment Co (中央投資) and Hsinyutai Co (欣裕台), the paper cited a source as saying.

The plots were sold when the party needed money to fund election campaigns, the report said, adding that the properties were later developed and resold to a third party for profit.

The process of selling each property twice, dubbed “the left hand selling to the right,” generated hundreds of millions of New Taiwan dollars in revenue, the source said.

The committee saw the large-scale liquidations as problematic, since a significant share of the properties were expropriated during the post-World War II period by dubious legal means, the source said.

It was unclear what ultimately happened to the proceeds of those transactions, the source said.

Hung said that as the alleged sales also occurred during the tenures of former presidents Lee Teng-hui (李登輝) and Chen Shui-bian (陳水扁), the two leaders would not have allowed the sales to go through if any transgressions were involved.

“Also, the KMT did not sell land only for election campaigns. Former party chairmen Lien Chan (連戰) and Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) also had to liquidate some of the properties to pay laid-off employees,” he said.

Last year, when the committee audited the KMT’s finances, it found that a property at 7 Linsen N Road in Taipei alone reaped an estimated NT$510 million (US$17.35 million at the current exchange rate) in profit for the party and the KMT-run Hua Hsia Investment Holding Co (華夏投資), the source said.

The KMT Cultural Work Committee’s office was formerly located at the property.

In 1991, the KMT purchased the building from the Taipei City Government for NT$140 million, with party members Hsu Li-teh (徐立德) and Wu Shui-yun (吳水雲) acting as buyers, the source said.

Seven years later, the KMT sold the property to Hua Hsia Investment for NT$500 million, they said.

Committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) later yesterday told a news conference that the land the KMT had sold could cover a space the size of 128 Taipei Arenas, with a total area of 954 ping (3,154m2).

The committee needs to conduct further investigations to determine whether any of the sales involved illegal conduct, Shih said.

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