Sun, Mar 12, 2017 - Page 3 News List

Women’s League cash said unwanted

CAUTION:The Ministry of Health and Welfare should wait for the findings of the assets committee to be released before accepting donations from the league, the Cabinet said

By Lee Hsin-fan  /  Staff reporter

The National Women’s League building in Taipei is pictured on Jan. 18.

Photo: Chen Chih-chu, Taipei Times

The National Women’s League last month said it would donate NT$16 billion (US$515.53 million) to government agencies in charge of providing long-term care, but the Ministry of Health and Welfare is inclined to refuse the donation, a source said.

The donation was discussed in a recent cross-ministerial meeting, the source said, adding that because the league is still being investigated by the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee over its affiliation with the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT), its financial sources remain unclear.

Although the league has declared its finances to the Ministry of the Interior, it has not explained more than NT$9 billion of so-called “surcharge for the military” collected in the past.

The league has denied more than once that it is affiliated with the KMT and expressed a desire to donate to long-term care services.

The ministry asked the Cabinet for guidance over the issue.

The Cabinet said it would be appropriate to wait for the assets committee to finalize its investigations into ill-gotten party assets, because the league would be banned from disposing of its assets if it is declared an affiliate of the KMT, sources said.

“We cannot accept this donation,” a high-ranked Cabinet official was quoted as saying in the meeting.

Meanwhile, the assets committee’s preliminary investigation suggests that the league’s financial sources in its early years not only included the surcharge for the military, but also a surcharge imposed for the purpose of national defense, when the Republic of China government had just relocated to Taiwan.

In February 1950, the then-Taiwan Provincial Government followed instructions from the former Southeast Military and Political Executive Office to impose a coastal defense surcharge (台灣省防衛捐徵收辦法) to support the military. The surcharge included eight different types of taxes, electricity bills and import taxes at various rates for 10 years.

An assets committee member said the league’s assets included funds from both the military and the coastal defense taxes, and if the league were not affiliated to the KMT it is unlikely that it would have had the right to collect the surcharges, adding that the league’s establishment was a product of the party-state era.

The assets committee plans to hold a hearing late next month to clarify whether the league is a KMT affiliate.

In related news, the assets committee on Friday won an appeal to keep KMT assets frozen following a previous verdict by the High Administrative Court in Taipei that ruled in the KMT’s favor, lifting a freeze on NT$740 million on the basis of irrecoverable damage to party operations.

Friday’s ruling came after the committee filed an appeal with the Supreme Administrative Court, which determined that no irrecoverable damage to KMT operations had occurred and that the committee’s lifting of a freeze on about NT$150 million in January was sufficient for the party’s needs.

The committee intended a portion of the frozen cash released to the KMT to be used to pay severance and retirement packages to laid off employees, committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.

She expressed her appreciation to the Supreme Administrative Court for “its understanding of the facts and for knowing that the KMT has not been irreparably damaged.”

Additional reporting by Yang Kuo-wen and Chen Yu-fu

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