Wed, Dec 05, 2018 - Page 3 News List

Ending dispute would be good for city: committee

MISINFORMATION?The KMT said that it was not directly involved in the sale of a disputed plot and asked the TRA to publicly apologize for failing to keep relevant files

By Chen Yu-fu and Jake Chung  /  Staff reporter and staff writer

A man rides a bicycle past the Songshan Paint factory on Keelung Road in Taipei’s Xinyi District on Monday.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

Resolution of a dispute between the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) and the Taiwan Railways Administration (TRA) over ownership of a plot of land on Taipei’s Keelung Road would revitalize the property and improve the cityscape, the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee said yesterday.

The party failed to transfer ownership of the plot, worth NT$4 billion (US$130.3 million) at the current market price, to the TRA following a sale of the land in 1959, the committee said.

The land was owned by Nippon Paint during the Japanese colonial era and Taiwan Industry and Mining Corp subsidiary Songshan Paint Co after World War II.

It was sold to the KMT in 1955 and the party then sold it to the TRA in 1959.

While the NT$2 million sale was finalized that year, the party did not transfer ownership of the land to the TRA, nor has it paid land value increment tax, the committee said.

The land is still registered to Songshan Paint, but the company’s operating license was revoked in 1964, it said.

Further compounding the issue, prior to the sale the KMT took out a loan with Bank of Taiwan for NT$500,000, using the land as collateral, which was not repaid until 1962, it added.

While the land is not considered an ill-gotten party asset, the KMT and the TRA should seek to resolve the issue, committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.

There is no question about the land’s owner, as the TRA clearly bought the land from the party, Shih said, but added that it was up to both sides to negotiate how to transfer the property to the agency.

As the land is in a prime Taipei real-estate area, the nation and the city would stand to benefit from the resolution of the issue, as it would allow for the revitalization of assets and improvement of the cityscape, she said.

KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Hung Meng-kai (洪孟楷) said that the assets committee was spreading false information about the issue, adding that the party was not directly involved in the sale of the property.

Hung displayed documents from a 2007 Executive Yuan meeting that he said showed that the sale and transfer of ownership were clean, adding that the transfer was not completed because files were lost during a flood in 1960.

In a meeting that year, the TRA filed a report saying that it reprimanded the supervisor and personnel handling the issue, which Hung said was the agency admitting to an internal oversight.

The KMT was only a member of Songshan Paint’s board, so the assets committee should not attempt to misdirect the public by insinuating that the party was responsible, Hung said, calling on the TRA to publicly apologize for its failure to keep the files.

Additional reporting by Shih Hsiao-kuang

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