Back to list

Government moves to freeze women's league assets

2018/02/01 19:06:04

Taipei, Feb. 1 (CNA) The government's Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee has determined the National Women's League (NWL) to be an affiliated organization of the opposition Kuomintang (KMT), and decided to freeze the league's assets, said Lin Feng-jeng (林峯正), chairman of the committee, on Thursday.

Lin made the announcement following a committee meeting held earlier that day to discuss the issue after the NWL voted Wednesday against signing an administrative contract with the government to donate 90 percent of its assets to the national coffers and submit to public oversight.

Lin said the settlement committee identified the NWL as a KMT affiliate and so all its assets are to be considered ill-gotten on the grounds that the KMT has control of its personnel management, finances and business operations and there is no indication the organization is independent of KMT control.

Although the NWL has twice changed its name, it is still a national political organization and registered with the Interior Ministry in 1990, the settlement committee said in a statement issued Thursday.

The league was set up in 1950 by former first lady Chiang Soong May-ling (蔣宋美齡), the wife of then President Chiang Kai-shek (蔣介石).

The first lady had full control of the league through her appointment powers and historically almost all major posts in the league have been taken by the wives of KMT politicians. Based partly on this, the settlement committee determined the NWL to be a KMT affiliate, according to the statement.

According to the law, the NWL is required to file a declaration of its assets with the settlement committee four months after receiving notification, which would reach the NWL by the time of office closing Thursday, Lin said.

If the NWL fails to file such a declaration, it can be fined up to NT$5 million (US$174,000) and have all its assets frozen immediately, including NT$38.5 billion in cash. The NWL will also be prohibited from disposing of its property unless it gains approval from the settlement committee, according to Lin.

The NWL, the Ministry of the Interior and the settlement committee signed a memorandum of understanding on Dec. 29, last year under which the NWL was to donate 90 percent of its total assets, or about NT$34.3 billion, to the national coffers.

The agreement also required four of the league's foundations to re-elect their boards of directors to include representatives from charitable organizations.

It also required a formal administrative contract be inked within a month of the agreement being signed.

In addition to facing an investigation about its links to the KMT, the league has also been under investigation by the committee over its use of "donations for the military" that were collected between 1955 and 1989 through surcharges on imported and exported components and goods.

Following the NWL vote, Interior Minister Yeh Jiunn-rong (葉俊榮) said the league has assets worth more than NT$30 billion but does not make its finances transparent and so the ministry is duty-bound to put the league under supervision and guide it through structural reorganization.

Yeh also said that the ministry would not remove newly appointed NWL Chairwoman Joanna Lei (雷倩) and will push for the league's structural reorganization.

Late on Thursday, Lei indicated the organization would challenge the government's efforts to seize its assets in court.

(By Ku Chuan and Evelyn Kao)