Committee to appeal court ruling on freezing KMT bank account

The Ill-Gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee said Monday that it will appeal a court ruling against its previous sanctions to freeze a bank account and nine checks totaling NT$468 million (US$14.87 million) held by the opposition Kuomintang (KMT).

The committee, meanwhile, also announced two new sanctions targeting the party.

One of them requires the KMT to obtain the committee's approval should it need to use its Bank SinoPac account to "fulfill its legal obligations or other reasonable purposes," committee Chairman Wellington Koo (???) said.

The other one requires Bank of Taiwan not to cash nine KMT checks, each with a face value of NT$52 million, Ku said. If the KMT approaches the bank to try to cash the checks, the bank should go through the legal process of relieving itself from payment obligations, which will involve making deposits into a court account, he added.

He also urged other people not to accept or endorse the nine checks, saying that any attempts by the KMT to transfer the checks to others would be invalid and could result in penalties amounting to three times their face value.

The committee took the action in response to a ruling in favor of the KMT that was issued Nov. 4 by the Taipei High Administrative Court, which determined that the committee should lift its freeze of the Bank SinoPac account and the nine Bank of Taiwan checks until the judicial proceedings on the case have been finalized.

According to the committee, the KMT withdrew a total of NT$520 million from Bank SinoPac in the form of 10 Bank of Taiwan checks Aug. 11, one day after the Statute on Handling the Inappropriate Assets of Political Parties and Their Affiliated Organizations came into force.

One of the checks was cashed Aug. 30.

On Sept. 21, the committee froze the Bank SinoPac account and required Bank of Taiwan to not cash the other nine checks with a total value of NT$468 million, pending an investigation.

Facing difficulty in paying its staff, however, the KMT filed a petition with the Taipei High Administrative Court Sept. 30 to lift the freeze.

The committee was set up by the Cabinet based on the Statute on Handling the Inappropriate Assets of Political Parties and Their Affiliated Organizations.

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 office, and interest generated from these funds -- are "ill-gotten" and must be transferred to the state or returned to their rightful owners.

Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel