Tue, Jan 03, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Asset committee to probe foundations

PAPER TRAIL:The committee is also investigating the whereabouts of NT$94 million the KMT withdrew from the Minsheng Development Foundation last year

By Yang Chun-huei and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee is on Jan. 28 to begin examining evidence regarding the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) alleged affiliation with four foundations.

If the Minsheng Development Foundation (民生建設基金會), the Minchuan Foundation (民權基金會), the Mintsu Foundation (民族基金會) and the National Development Fund (國家發展基金會) are found to be affiliated with the KMT, the NT$180 million (US$5.58 million) that has been donated to them by Hsinyutai Co (欣裕台) — which the committee has concluded was founded using illegally obtained assets — would be seized as ill-gotten assets, committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.

Shih said the committee recently uncovered the donations made by the company to the four foundations, adding that it is investigating the whereabouts of NT$94 million the KMT withdrew from the Minsheng Development Foundation in November last year.

Shih said that discussions are under way on how to proceed with the foundations’ seizure if they are discovered to be linked with the KMT.

Three of the foundations have not engaged in any business since their establishment and would therefore be easy for the committee to investigate, Shih said, adding that the Minsheng Development Foundation is different, as it has a longer history.

Shih said the committee will need sufficient proof to establish that the donations were illegal.

The Minsheng Development Foundation was established by the KMT’s financial affairs committee in 1979, whereas the other three foundations were established more recently during New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu’s (朱立倫) tenure as KMT chairman with NT$90 million in donations.

“The committee has asked Minsheng for paperwork to help us understand what they were up to for the past several decades,” she said.

Shih said the committee has invited the KMT and representatives from the four foundations to attend a closed-door hearing.

One committee member who declined to be named said that foundation representatives have asked for individual hearings, saying they are independent of each other.

Foundation members told the committee that since the KMT is bringing a lawsuit against the Executive Yuan over the handling of Hsinyutai, the committee should await the outcome of the lawsuit before investigating the foundations, the committee member said.

Committee Chairman Wellington Koo (顧立雄) said he will bring up the concerns with other committee members at this week’s meeting, adding that the committee has not yet decided the particulars of this month’s hearing.

In related news, the China Youth Corps and the National Women’s League, both of which are also under investigation by the committee for alleged links with the KMT, have come under fire after petitioning for support at a public venue.

The petition, which was placed in the reception area of the Yonghe (永和) Civil Sports Center in New Taipei City, asked the public to support the organizations, stating that they did not receive money from the KMT and that they were not affiliated with any political party.

One user on the online bulletin board, Professional Technology Temple posted pictures of the petition, which drew criticism from several netizens and politicians who said that private organizations should not use public space for their own benefit.

“The fitness center is under the management of the city’s Department of Sports. Do not tell me that [New Taipei City] Mayor Eric Chu does not need to come out and explain this,” Democratic Progressive Party New Taipei City Councilor Hsu Chao-hsing (許昭興) said, adding that she will investigate the issue and take action against those responsible.

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