Sun, May 20, 2018 - Page 1 News List

KMT illegally used, profited from Taipei real estate: sources

By Chen Yu-fu and Sherry Hsiao  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Japanese Red Cross Society’s building in Taipei is pictured in an undated photograph.

Photo: Copy by Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times

The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee has found several alleged contraventions of the National Property Act (國有財產法) by the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) over its former headquarters on Taipei’s Zhongshan S Road, facing the Presidential Office Building, sources said.

The committee is to host a hearing on the case on Tuesday.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office has been investigating whether the KMT sold the property to the Chang Yung-fa Foundation for NT$2.3 billion (US$76.89 million at the current exchange rate), significantly less than its market value in 2006, when then-president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) was the chairman of the party, the sources said.

If the committee finds the property to be an ill-gotten party asset, it would ask the KMT to pay the nation’s coffers NT$1.15 billion, they added.

That figure was derived by subtracting NT$140 million in taxes and NT$370 million the party paid for the property from the NT$1.66 billion value of the land alone, with an additional NT$3.07 million for the building, which was later demolished.

The committee also found that after World War II, the Southeast Military and Political Executive Office opened a restaurant named Kai Ko Kuei (凱歌歸) inside the building, which formerly housed the Japanese Red Cross Society’s Taiwan branch, the sources said.

The restaurant catered to high-level KMT military officials and included in its menu items such as bear and tiger paws, as well as owl, they said.

The Southeast Military and Political Executive Office in 1949 handed the structure over to the KMT to use as its headquarters, they added.

The committee sent staff to Academia Historica to examine official documents related to the Southeast Military and Political Executive Office, but they could not find any handover documentation, leading the committee to suspect it was carried out illegally, the sources said.

The KMT used the building rent-free and did not sign a contract with the Ministry of Finance to borrow government-owned property until 1967, they said.

There are no legal documents allowing the KMT to occupy the government-owned building and land from December 1949 to 1967, committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.

The contract that was signed in 1967 was also problematic, she said.

The contract says that it was drafted to make up for a lack of a contract to borrow the property, but as the KMT is not an administrative agency, “how could it borrow government-owned property rent-free?” Shih asked.

A committee investigative report found that the KMT stopped being a government agency after December 1947, when the “political tutelage period” ended, the sources said.

The KMT was able to borrow the government-owned land rent-free because of its authoritarian rule and dictatorship, New Power Party Legislator Hsu Yung-ming (徐永明) said.

Having its headquarters face the Presidential Office Building symbolized its control of the government, Hsu said, adding that the government should confiscate the party’s ill-gotten profit from the property’s sale.

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