The Executive Yuan’s Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee will continue its normal operations and do its utmost to defend the Act Governing the Handling of Ill-gotten Properties by Political Parties and Their Affiliate Organizations (政黨及其附隨組織不當取得財產處理條例) after the Supreme Administrative Court on Thursday ordered a constitutional interpretation to proceed, it said.
The court dismissed the committee’s appeal of a ruling by the Taipei High Administrative Court in June that questioned the constitutionality of the committee’s foundational act.
The Taipei High Administrative Court suspended legal proceedings in three cases brought by Central Investment Co (中央投資), Hsinyutai Co (欣裕台) and the Chinese Nationalist Party (KMT) against the committee’s November 2016 finding that the two companies are KMT affiliates until a constitutional interpretation on the matter is issued.
Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times
The high administrative court issued the ruling as it finished preparing the cases petitioning the court to revoke the committee’s finding.
“We will actively confront this constitutional interpretation case. We will prepare to defend the act and continue to do what is expected of the committee before a conclusion is reached in the case,” committee spokeswoman Shih Chin-fang (施錦芳) said.
The KMT has full ownership of both Central Investment Co and Hsinyutai Co, Shih said, adding: “If those are not affiliates of the party, then what is?”
The committee filed its appeal in protest against the high administrative court’s decision to suspend proceedings without giving it a chance to present its views and arguments by requesting a constitutional interpretation, Shih said.
“That said, we respect the court’s authority and its right to seek a constitutional interpretation,” she added.
Asked whether the committee has prepared itself for the possibility that the act could be ruled unconstitutional, Shih answered in the negative.
“The act is part of the government’s effort to achieve transitional justice and is designed to ensure a level playing field for all parties,” Shih said.
Since the committee’s establishment in August 2016, it has uncovered historical documents that shed light on how the KMT intervened in the government during the authoritarian period and how it managed to illegitimately obtain assets in the process, Shih said.
“These investigative findings will be made public at future public hearings. We will also present them in lawsuits and during the procedure of a possible constitutional interpretation case,” she said, adding that the committee would not stop what it is doing simply because of this legal predicament.
With regard to a request for a constitutional interpretation in March by Control Yuan members, Shih said that the Council of Grand Justices is still mulling whether to accept the case, as it could go against the principle of the separation of powers between the government’s five branches.
In addition to Central Investment Co and Hsinyutai Co, the committee has so far also identified the National Women’s League, the National Development Foundation (國家發展基金會), the Minchuan Foundation (民權基金會) and the Mintsu Foundation (民族基金會) as KMT-affiliated organizations.
The league was founded in 1950 by former president Chiang Kai-shek’s (蔣介石) wife Soong Mayling (宋美齡), who led it for decades, while the three foundations were founded in 2015 under then-KMT chairman Eric Chu (朱立倫), who funded each with NT$30 million (US$977,008) from Hsinyutai Co.
The committee has also ordered the KMT to pay about NT$2 billion in compensation, including NT$1.139 billion for selling its former headquarters on Taipei’s Zhongshan S Road, facing the Presidential Office Building, to the Chang Yung-fa Foundation, and NT$864 million for selling 458 properties appropriated from the Japanese colonial government.
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