A Cabinet committee responsible for handling the "ill-gotten" assets of the Kuomintang (KMT) held its first hearing Friday as part of its investigative efforts, but did not reach any conclusions.
The main purpose of the hearing was to look into whether Central Investment Corp. and Hsinyutai Co. are KMT-affiliated organizations.
Wellington Koo (???), chairman of the Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee, had previously said that if the two companies are determined to be assets obtained by the KMT through improper means, the committee can order them to transfer all their shares to the state.
In his statement, Central Investment Corp. Chairman Chen Shu (??) said it pained him to be present at the hearing because it was the result of a law pushed through by the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) with its legislative majority with the goal of destroying the KMT.
KMT Administration and Management Committee Director Chiu Da-chan (???), who attended the hearing as a witness, said a country ruled by law should act based on evidence.
He said the KMT was not trying to retain all its assets, but he urged the committee to give a proper reason before ordering the KMT to surrender its assets.
The committee was set up by the Cabinet based on the Statute on Handling the Inappropriate Assets of Political Parties and Their Affiliated Organizations, which cleared the DPP-dominated Legislature in July and took effect in August.
According to the law, the committee's job is to investigate, retroactively confiscate and return or restore to the rightful owners all assets obtained by the KMT and its affiliated organizations since Aug. 15, 1945 -- when Japan handed over its assets in Taiwan to the then ruling party of the Republic of China.
The law assumes that all KMT assets -- except for the party's membership fees, political donations, government subsidies for KMT candidates running for public offices, and interest generated from these funds -- are "ill-gotten" and must be transferred to the state or returned to their rightful owners.
The law stipulates that the KMT and its affiliated organizations must, within one year of the law's promulgation on Aug. 10, register all of the targeted assets -- including real estate, cash deposits, securities and bonds -- with the new committee.
In a Facebook post, KMT Chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu (???) criticized the committee Friday as being biased, saying it only gave the concerned parties several days to collect evidence.
She questioned how the committee could complete a review of the 45-year-old Central Investment Corp. and determine whether the assets acquired by the KMT over the past 71 years were proper or improper in just a few days.
KMT Vice Chairman Steve Chan (???) said at a news conference, meanwhile, that the hearing had many legal flaws, and he urged legal professionals in the country to continue to pay attention to the case.
If Central Investment Corp. and Hsinyutai Co. are determined to be KMT-affiliated organizations or ill-gotten KMT assets, the party will take legal action to protect its legal rights, Chan said.
He reiterated that the KMT respects the government's decision to recover any of the party's assets that are proven to have been obtained via improper or unlawful means.
As for assets that are lawful, the KMT will donate them all to charity except for necessary office buildings and a sum needed to cover retirement payments for its staff, he said.
Facing a lack of resources, the KMT will soon begin to borrow money and solicit donations from the public to help it overcome its financial difficulties, he said.
Late last month, the KMT's main bank account was frozen by the Ill-Gotten Assets Settlement Committee, forcing it to delay paying its employees their salaries for September.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel