Thu, Jan 17, 2019 - Page 3 News List

Palau hotel probe not just a holiday: assets committee

By Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter

Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Lee Chun-yi addresses a news conference in Taipei yesterday in response to Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers’ criticisms of the Executive Yuan’s Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee and the Control Yuan’s decision to impeach National Taiwan University president Kuan Chung-ming.

Photo: Huang Yao-cheng, Taipei Times

The Executive Yuan’s Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee yesterday rejected Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) lawmakers’ accusations that its field investigation into the party’s investment in a Palauan hotel had become a tourist trip.

At a morning news conference in Taipei yesterday, KMT caucus secretary-general William Tseng (曾銘宗) said that two committee employees took a four-day trip to Palau — one of Taiwan’s diplomatic allies — in August last year to inspect the Palasia Hotel Palau, of which the KMT-controlled Central Investment Co and its subsidiary own 80 percent.

“However, the 70-plus page trip report submitted by the committee talked about diplomacy and tourism, which are not even remotely related to its duties,” Tseng said, adding that most of the report’s content were pictures and appendixes, and that not a single word in its half-page of feedback and suggestions was about the committee’s actual work.

The report raised questions about the “credibility of the committee’s future decisions,” as it was the main document on which the committee based its rejection of the company’s request to sell the hotel, Tseng said.

He said if the committee refuses to apologize, he would confront Premier Su Tseng-chang (蘇貞昌) at the next legislative session and ask him if he would accept such a sloppy report.

KMT Legislator Tung Hui-chen (童惠珍) said that the report served as proof that the committee was established by the Democratic Progressive Party for the mere purpose of bringing down the KMT.

Shortly after the news conference, committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) rejected the KMT lawmakers’ allegations, saying that the purpose of the trip was to inspect the KMT’s overseas assets, not sightseeing.

The committee decided to take the trip after Central Investment criticized it for rejecting the firm’s request to sell the hotel without first sending someone to inspect it, Shih said.

Committee staff made the trip along with representatives from Central Investment, Shih said, adding that they did not have any set plans for the first day, and met with Palauan Bureau of Tourism officials, tourism proprietors and representatives of the Palasia Hotel Palau on the second day.

On the third day, they met with Taiwan’s overseas government staff and agricultural enterprises, before attending a banquet in the afternoon celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Palasia Hotel Palau’s establishment to investigate the hotel’s operations, Shih said.

The portion about tourism in the committee’s report mostly concerned committee staff’s meetings with the Palauan Bureau of Tourism’s director and the Palasia Hotel Palau’s general manager, she said.

The celebratory banquet was also attended by Palauan Vice President Raynold Oilouch and Central Investment chairman Gordon Chen (陳樹), she added.

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