Tue, Jun 19, 2018 - Page 3 News List

League received millions for boat races: lawmaker

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

The National Women’s League received NT$3.58 million (US$119,325) in funding over the decade to 2016 for an annual dragon boat race held in Washington, Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) Legislator Lai Jui-lung (賴瑞隆) said.

The league each year applied to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Overseas Community Affairs Council for funding for the event, despite having tens of billions of New Taiwan dollars in assets, Lai said.

Ministry records of funding granted to overseas representative offices show that US$37,200 was given to the league’s branch office in Washington from 2006 to 2015, Lai said.

Over the same period, the council granted the league NT$2.48 million, he said, adding that NT$272,160 was awarded in 2009 under former president Ma Ying-jeou (馬英九).

In 2016, last year and this year, the council gave the league NT$254,800, NT$232,480 and NT$236,240 respectively to fund the event.

The league operates 19 overseas offices, and branches in other countries similarly used the annual Dragon Boat Festival as an opportunity to request funds from the ministry and the council, Lai said, citing a branch in Australia that has received about NT$70,000 for the annual event to date.

Lai accused the league of seeking funding from the council and ministry, even though it was already “as rich as a country” (富可敵國) with its NT$38 billion in assets from the so-called Military Benefit Tax, which used to be its main source of income.

Asking for more funding showed that the league is “greedy” and has no scruples about “taking advantage of the country,” he said.

The government should seek to reclaim the funds given to the league under Ma’s administration, especially as the league’s financial records have allegedly been destroyed by former league chairwoman Cecilia Koo (辜嚴倬雲) and her daughter Koo Huai-ju (辜懷如), he said.

Lai also criticized Cecilia Koo for remaining in the US as the league is being investigated, saying she cannot escape her responsibility.

The Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee should speed up its investigations into the league and any associated foundations that it finds, he said.

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