Sat, Nov 27, 2004 - Page 2 News List

Lawyers slam KMT on assets issue

POOR SHOWING Despite the party's pledge to come clean, it has transferred 75 percent of its acquired assets to third parties, said government-hired lawyers

CNA , Taipei

Only 3 percent of the Chinese Nationalist Party's (KMT's) ill-gotten assets acquired over five decades in power have been returned to the nation, while some three-quarters have been transferred to "third party" private individuals, government-hired lawyers said yesterday.

Lin Yong-sung (林永頌), chief attorney of a group of legal counselors that has been enlisted by the Executive Yuan for probes into the KMT's "ill-gotten" assets, said the land that the KMT and its affiliated organizations had owned totaled 23,656m2, with a value of over NT$20.9 billion (US$649 million).

Of that total, 3 percent has been relinquished by the KMT and returned to the national coffers; 18 percent is still under the ownership of the KMT or its affiliates; 75 percent has been transferred to "third party" private individuals; and 2 percent is state-owned land that has been used by the KMT without payments, Lin noted.

Premier Yu Shyi-kun said last month that the Executive Yuan will retrieve the KMT-held assets which he said were "robbed" from the people.

"The government cannot tolerate this kind of exploitation and will make every effort to retrieve the booty," Yu said at the time.

Lin said that the Executive Yuan will via legal process try to have the KMT make full reimbursement to the nation for the 75 percent of the assets that it has already sold, as well as pay 5 percent in interest charges.

The KMT "booty" includes land and buildings that were used during the Japanese-colonial era, land and buildings that the Taiwan Provincial Government handed out when it was disbanded, and land and buildings that were required by the government for public use when the KMT was still in power, Lin said.

The KMT announced last December that it was relinquishing ownership of two major buildings and seven movie theaters in Taipei City as part of efforts to clear its name in the wake of a spate of criticism of the party for ``embezzling'' national assets.

Chang Che-sen (張哲琛), director-general of the KMT Administration Management Committee, claimed that most of the party's assets -- many of which are described by rival parties as "ill-gotten assets" -- are "a historical legacy" that have made significant contributions to the country.

However, despite reluctance, the KMT has, since last year, continued to give up these assets and return property to the original "donors," Chang said.

According to Chang, KMT Chairman Lien Chan (連戰) announced in September 2002 that the party would undertake a sweeping consignment of party assets back to their former owners in an effort to recuperate some of the former ruling party's image and dignity.

Lien said that a total of 120 land lots and 42 buildings would be returned to their former owners, mostly local governments around the country that gave the property to the KMT as donations in the years when the KMT was in power.

As of August last year, according to Chang, 120 out of the 165 land lots that the KMT had been using had been returned to their original donors, constituting a completion rate of over 80 percent.

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