Tue, Apr 10, 2018 - Page 3 News List

State might seize Women’s League assets as committee finds evidence of transfers

By Chen Yu-fu and William Hetherington  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

National Women’s League assets worth NT$38.5 billion (US$1.32 billion), which were frozen in February, would be confiscated by the state if investigations determine them to be illegally acquired, the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee said.

The committee in February determined the league to be a Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT)-affiliated organization and lodged formal complaints against former league chairwoman Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲) and her daughter Koo Huai-ju (辜懷如) for allegedly destroying records.

Cecilia Koo in May last year moved 170 boxes containing league documents and accounts to a warehouse owned by the Koo family-operated Taiwan Cement Corp. In December last year, Koo Huai-ju and family assistant Liu Kai-li (劉凱理) reportedly destroyed most of the records with a paper shredder.

The committee said it filed formal complaints with the Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office against the two women and one employee for destroying the documents and obstructing its investigation after league employees testified that they were instructed to pack up league records in May last year.

A trial has been scheduled for Wednesday at which league deputy secretary-general Nancy Nee (汲宇荷) and league head of general affairs Chu Ai-na (朱愛娜) are to appear as witnesses, the committee said, adding that case defendant Cecilia Koo has yet to return from the US, where she has been staying.

Initial investigations into records from the past 10 years have already uncovered that the league transferred funds to the KMT over this period, the committee said, adding that five recovered boxes of documents showed that the KMT supplied the majority of military taxes and surcharges that were the league’s main source of income from 1955 to 1989.

Investigations of records from 1960 to 1989 show that the league’s income from military taxes and surcharges was not as much as the public perceived it to be, the committee said, adding that the league had other sources of revenue, receiving donations from theater ticket sales, the textile industry and bank interest, among other sources.

The league used the military taxes and surcharges to generate interest, rather than using the money to assist troops, as was intended, the committee said, adding that the league could earn annual interest of up to 10 percent during the economic boom years.

“Revenue from military taxes and surcharges was supposed to be spent on military barracks and on the troops… Where did the extra funds go?” committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.

After the taxes and surcharges were discontinued in 1989, the league was asked by authorities to return unused funds, but it refused to do so, Shih said.

The donations made to the league are seen by some as tributes paid to [Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) wife and league founder] Soong Mayling (宋美齡), Shih said.

“They just spent the money however they wanted, nobody dared to pressure them to hand it over,” she said.

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