US$70 BILLION QUESTION: DPP legislators said the New Taipei mayor would have to settle accounts with the president about KMT assets that might have disappeared
By Chiu Yen-ling and Lai Hsiao-tung / Staff reporters
New Taipei City Mayor Eric Chu （朱立倫） sparked a fracas when he said he had no idea what assets the Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） holds as he registered for the KMT chairman election on Sunday.
However, in April 2000, news outlets reported that Chu, after attending a KMT Central Reform Committee meeting, said that KMT party assets amounted to about NT$100 billion （US$3.15 billion） in market value, including current assets — savings and securities — of NT$10 billion, fixed assets — land and properties — of NT$20 billion and investment net value of NT$70 billion.
Noting media reports from 2000, Democratic Progressive Party （DPP） Legislator Chen Chi-mai （陳其邁） said Chu has been “feigning ignorance” while knowing the scope of KMT holdings.
If Chu knows of a discrepancy between past and present amounts, he would have to investigate how assets had disappeared and thereby “face the quandary of settling accounts with President Ma Ying-jeou （馬英九）,” Chen said.
His feigned ignorance was to avoid this dilemma, Chen said.
“However, what kind of reform is this is?” Chen added.
Chen said Ma had sold KMT party assets cheaply during his tenure as chairman, and the KMT Administration and Management Committee had become Ma’s personal coffer, with the transactions not reported to the KMT Central Standing Committee.
Chu would not dare hold accountable the person who allegedly mishandled the assets, so he is pretending to have amnesia, Chen said.
Taiwan Solidarity Union Legislator Lai Chen-chang （賴振昌） asked whether Chu is “suffering amnesia or lying.”
“Is the 2000 Chu a different person from the 2014 Chu?” he asked.
Chu did not respond to the allegations raised by the legislators.
New Taipei City Government spokesman Lin Chieh-yu （林芥佑） said no further comment would be made on the issue.
Records show that the KMT Central Reform Committee had meetings following the party’s loss in the 2000 presidential election and the party’s Business and Investment Management Committee then reported that the party’s assets had been divided into six categories: bank savings, securities, land and houses, US dollar-denominated bonds, funds for party affairs and long-term investments in party-run enterprises.
The committee’s report said that KMT assets’ total value had increased from the NT$38,516,990,000 that it had registered with the local district in March 1994 to NT$73,492,600,000 in March 2000.
The investment committee said the increase was the result of adjustments made to the net values of the holding companies of party-run enterprises.
Chu said the party assets then amounted to about NT$100 billion at market value.
According to data filed by the KMT with the Ministry of the Interior’s Department of Civil Affairs last year, the party’s current assets had shrunk to NT$2.46 billion, fixed assets to NT$1.3 billion and investment business to NT$23.29 billion, with the total amounting to NT$26.8 billion. In other words, a total of NT$73.2 billion in asset value vaporized within 13 years.
Lai said that insofar as Chu has emphasized the need for the party’s finances to be made transparent, he would have to clarify the flow of the disappeared NT$70 billion and make transparent the past finances.
The Ministry of the Interior made public in July the party’s financial statements for last year, which show KMT assets totaling NT$26.8 billion, with the party’s affairs funding income at about NT$1.55 billion — topping the chart listing all political parties.
Democratic Progressive Party Legislator Chen Chi-mai, speaking in Taipei yesterday, calls on New Taipei Mayor Eric Chu to investigate sales of the Chinese Nationalist Party’s （KMT） massive party assets after he takes over the KMT chairmanship. Photo: Fang Pin-chao, Taipei Times