‘SWALLOWED POISON’: Many KMT supporters think that the committee should not be probing the party’s assets, but it is unclear who is using them, Lin Feng-jeng said
By Chen Yu-fu and William Hetherington / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee Chairman Lin Feng-jeng （林峰正） on Saturday urged the Chinese Nationalist Party （KMT） to serve the public interest with its donated assets.
Lin made the call in an interview with the Liberty Times （the Taipei Times’ sister paper）. The committee is to mark its third anniversary on Saturday.
The KMT “swallowed poison” when it reallocated public assets to itself, Lin said, adding that the committee has been trying to help the party expel the poison.
The KMT should fulfill the promise it made at a national congress in 2016 to work in the public’s interest with the funds donated to it over the years, he said.
The committee has never refused to communicate with the KMT, he added.
KMT Chairman Wu Den-yih （吳敦義） and Kaohsiung Mayor Han Kuo-yu （韓國瑜）, who is the party’s presidential candidate, should explain to the public how the party plans to deal with its ill-gotten assets, and whether it plans to disband the committee if it returns to government, he said.
The committee has so far identified NT$68.8 billion （US$2.19 billion） in assets held by the party and its affiliate organizations that must be restored to national ownership, Lin said.
It has frozen NT$18.4 billion of assets held by the China Youth Corps, the Central Motion Picture Corp and other KMT affiliates, he added.
“Many KMT supporters think that people should not investigate party assets. However, who is using the assets?” Lin asked.
The Political Parties Act （政黨法） states that parties cannot engage in business or real-estate transactions, and the operations of their affiliate organizations must have nothing to do with party members, he said.
“What happened to the leftover funds held by organizations like the National Women’s League and the Chinese Association for Relief and Ensuing Services after their missions were over?” Lin said, adding that leaving the funds with the KMT or its affiliates would be dishonest and unreasonable.
“The problem has gone uncorrected for so long. Today, what parties do not rely on properly acquired revenue? Only the KMT is still trying to protect ill-gotten assets,” he said.
In a democracy like Taiwan there must be fair competition between parties, Lin said.
Former KMT chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu （洪秀柱） has said that the party would do good deeds with whatever assets were left after paying party members’ retirement funds.
However, the KMT appears reluctant to reflect upon itself, instead comparing the Transitional Justice Commission to the Dong Chang （東廠）, a Ming Dynasty secret police and spy agency, Lin said.
The KMT is aware that holding on to ill-gotten assets is wrong, he said, citing former New Taipei City mayor Eric Chu （朱立倫）, who returned some KMT assets to national ownership while he was party chairman.
Hung met with former president Ma Ying-jeou （馬英九）, former vice president Lien Chan （連戰） and former KMT chairman Wu Poh-hsiung （吳伯雄） while she was chairwoman to discuss how to handle the assets, Lin said.
The group arrived at a resolution at the time, but now everyone denies responsibility, he added.
The KMT must open up and be honest with the public, and return ill-gotten assets to national ownership for the sake of the nation’s democratic development, he said.
KMT Culture and Communications Committee deputy director-general Cheng Mei-hua （程美華） said that the KMT is willing to donate its assets, as the Political Parties Act stipulates that parties cannot have profit-generating real estate on the basis of fair competition between parties.
The KMT filed lawsuits against the committee’s findings because it wanted to clear up details of its assets, Cheng said, adding that “as the committee established by the Democratic Progressive Party government has failed in all lawsuits concerning the KMT assets, this proved the judiciary did not agree with its methods.”
“Is there any democracy, any country ruled by law where a single branch of government can freeze public assets? And yet they [the DPP] feel pleased with themselves about this and tout it as a political achievement,” she added.
Additional reporting by Lin Liang-sheng
Photographers take pictures of the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee signboard at its office on its opening day in Taipei on Aug. 31, 2016. Photo: Chen Yu-fu, Taipei Times