Sun, Jul 24, 2016 - Page 3 News List

Academic, group question KMT’s shrinking assets

By Abraham Gerber  /  Staff reporter

The Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) declared assets vastly outnumber those of other political parties, according to official filings released by the Ministry of the Interior this month.

The KMT declared NT$18.9 billion (US$589 million) in assets for the fiscal year 2015, down from NT$24.8 billion in 2014, while the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) declared NT$440 million in assets.

Party asset income comprised 76.5 percent of the KMT’s NT$1.89 billion declared income, compared with 15.4 percent from government subsidies, 4.8 percent from political contributions and 2.9 percent from party dues.

The DPP declared NT$600 million in total income, with government subsidies accounting for 37.4 percent, political contributions 31.6 percent and party dues 28 percent respectively.

The People First Party declared NT$49 million in revenue, while the newly established New Power Party has yet to file an assets report.

Political parties have been required to file financial statements, balance sheets and lists of assets with the ministry since 2007.

News of the reductions in the KMT’s declared assets drew skepticism from political analysts and campaigners, who said that the party might be seeking to shed its assets prior to the expected passage of new legislation being debated by the Legislative Yuan that would grant a special commission authority to investigate and seize “illicit party assets” for the first time.

Southern Taiwan University of Science and Technology assistant professor Lo Cheng-chung (羅承宗) said political parties are only required to submit general reports under the current rules, making it difficult to evaluate filings.

He said that the KMT should clearly state where the assets had gone, because it had previously shown itself skilled in establishing shell corporations and foundations to shrink the apparent size of its holdings.

The party’s efforts to stall the proposed legislation might be aimed at buying time to shield more assets, he said.

Zero Party Assets Alliance convener Huang Shih-hsin (黃世鑫) said that the rules only require parties have their accountants sign the financial statements that they file with the ministry, meaning there is no independent verification of the statements.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee director Chow Chi-wai (周志偉) said the reduction in the party’s assets was the result of expenditure along with the decapitalization of party-held firm Hsinyutai Co.

Additional reporting by Hsiao Ting-fang, Tseng Wei-chen and Shih Hsiao-kuang

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