Thu, Feb 01, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Ministry ‘regretful’ of league’s decision

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Four Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee staff members yesterday enter the National Women’s League in Taipei to audit its accounts.

Photo: Liu Hsin-de, Taipei Times

The Ministry of the Interior yesterday expressed “deep regret” over the National Women’s League’s decision not to ink an administrative contract with the government to dissolve itself, but added that it would not remove league chairwoman Joanna Lei (雷倩).

The ministry made the remarks in a statement after the league’s member representatives voted 31-28 against signing the contract.

The outcome is “extremely regrettable,” Minister of the Interior Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) said.

“The ministry will continue assisting the league with its structural transformation in accordance with the Political Party Act (政黨法) and the Civil Associations Act (人民團體法),” the ministry said. “We will also respect and cooperate with the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee’s follow-up actions.”

Despite the result, the ministry said it would not remove Lei, who it said had tried to improve the league’s oligopoly problem and repeatedly urged member representatives to attend yesterday’s meeting, although her efforts did not prevail.

Lei was elected on Dec. 24 last year, two days after her predecessor, Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲), was removed from office by the ministry due to her refusal to sign the contract, which would have agreed to the league’s dissolution within four months, with 90 percent of its assets — about NT$34.3 billion (US$1.18 billion) — donated to the state’s coffers.

The contract would have in return put an end to a probe by the ministry and the committee into the league’s alleged link with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and how it used an estimated NT$24.03 billion — or NT$52.6 billion after factoring in inflation — it received between 1955 and 1989 from the Military Benefit Tax.

The tax was a tariff levied on the US dollar value of all imported goods during the period.

The league does not conform to the Civil Associations Act in terms of its organizational charter and how it functions, the ministry said, adding that it is also required to revise its charter and structure under Article 43 of the Political Party Act, lest it be forced to dissolve.

“We again urge the member representatives to consider the league’s collective instead of personal interests and bravely face its history,” the ministry said.

Shortly after the voting result was announced, several committee officials arrived at the league to retrieve documents.

Expressing its regret over the league’s decision to renege on a three-party memorandum of understanding signed on Dec. 29 last year to ink the contract, the committee said in a statement that it would hold an extemporaneous meeting today to deliberate on how to handle the league.

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