Fri, Dec 01, 2017 - Page 3 News List

KMT blasts hours-long questioning of Ma

POLITICKING?The KMT accused the DPP of using the judiciary to unfairly target its officials and insisted that its disposal of party assets would withstand scrutiny

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Former president Ma Ying-jeou talks to reporters at the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday after he was summoned for questioning in a probe into the Chinese Nationalist Party’s (KMT) sale of party assets when he served as party chairman.

Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times

The Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) yesterday lashed out at prosecutors for questioning former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九) and other key officials over an ongoing judicial probe into alleged financial irregularities in the sale of KMT assets a decade ago, when Ma was the party chairman.

“Ma and other party officials were summoned for questioning by prosecutors for 15 hours on Wednesday in relation to their investigation into party asset sales. We suspect the judiciary is being used as a political tool to unfairly target KMT officials,” party spokesman Huang Chien-hao (黃健豪) said in a statement.

The KMT’s sale and disposal of party assets were managed through legal means, which can withstand scrutiny, Huang said, accusing the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) of interfering in the judicial system, harassing the opposition and protecting its own interests.

Huang was referring to the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office’ summoning of Ma for questioning, which went on for more than 14 hours.

It was the first time Ma was summoned for questioning in the judicial probe into a number of questionable financial transactions related to the disposal of KMT-owned businesses, real estate and other valuable party assets during the late 2000s.

According to prosecutors, Ma was questioned as a possible defendant because he was the party chairman at the time who oversaw the financial transactions and was likely the main person who approved the decisions.

Other key party officials were summoned on Wednesday, but were questioned separately to prevent collusion.

They included former KMT administration and management committee director Chang Che-chen (張哲琛), former Central Investment Co (CMPC) general manager Wang Hai-ching (汪海清), and Cheng Uei Precision Industry Co chairman Guo Tai-chiang (郭台強), who is also the chairman of Central Motion Picture Corp.

Prosecutors are investigating the KMT’s sales of three party-

affiliated media companies: CMPC, China Television Co and Broadcasting Corp of China, along with the sale of former KMT headquarters building at the intersection of Renai Road and Zhongshan S Road in Taipei, and the land that used to house the KMT’s National Research Institute.

Many of these assets were allegedly sold below their market prices or involved the transfer of wholly or partly owned state enterprises into private hands in questionable deals that benefited KMT-related figures and businesses.

The party headquarters building, for example, was sold to a nonprofit foundation belonging to Evergreen Group for NT$2.3 billion (US$76.6 million at the current exchange rate) in 2006, far below its estimated value of NT$4 billion.

Ma and the KMT sold the National Research Institute’s land for property redevelopment to Yuan Lih Group for NT$430 million in 2005, while shares in the three party-owned media businesses were sold in an initial deal in 2005 for NT$4 billion to Jungli Investment Co, a subsidiary of Want Want China Times Group registered in the British Cayman Islands.

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