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National Women's League assets belong to state: ruling

2019/03/19 20:58:54

CNA file photo

Taipei, March 19 (CNA) The National Women's League (NWL), an organization founded by the late Madame Chiang Kai-shek in 1950 to offer care for military families, was ruled Tuesday that the lion's share of its assets, valued at NT$38.7 billion (US$1.26 billion), should be transferred to the state.

The Cabinet-level Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee (IGPASC) reached the resolution at a meeting after it determined in February 2018 that the NWL is a group affiliated with the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

At Tuesday's meeting, the NWL's NT$38.7 billion in assets were determined to be ill-gotten and should be transferred to the state, IGPASC officials said.

Committee Chairman Lin Feng-jeng (林峯正) elaborated that the NWL's ill-gotten assets include NT$38.1 billion in cash deposits and NT$600 million-worth of stocks and real estate.

The NWL can still keep NT$240 million of its funds, but the ill-gotten property, currently frozen, should be transferred to the state coffers, Lin stated, noting that the government will set up a special fund to use the assets properly.

During the course of the committee's investigation, the KMT was found that with its dominance as the ruling party, it assisted the NWL in soliciting operational funds through a surcharge on imported components and goods by manufacturers, as well as by importers and exporters, over a 30-year period, Lin said.

The surcharge, which was NT$0.5 for every US$1-worth of imports when the program was launched in 1955, was imposed compulsorily. "In essence, it was no different from a tax," other than the fact that it was not ruled by any laws, Lin added.

In response, the NWL called the ruling a violation of the Constitution, which stipulates that people's private property must be protected.

Arguing that it has never been a KMT-affiliated organization, the league vowed to fight the ruling through judicial channels.

The IGPASC was set up in August 2016 based on the Statute on Handling the Inappropriate Assets of Political Parties and their Affiliated Organizations, which was enacted by the Democratic Progressive Party-dominated Legislature in July that same year.

Under the law, most of the KMT's properties have been frozen pending investigations by the committee into the assets held by the veteran political party.

If the assets are determined to be "ill-gotten," they will be transferred to the state or returned to their rightful owners.

(By Matt Yu and Elizabeth Hsu)