Kuomintang remains Taiwan's richest party with reported assets of S$815 million

Two ruling Kuomintang (KMT) members walk past a giant KMT logo. PHOTO: AFP

TAIPEI - Taiwan's opposition party Kuomintang (KMT) remains the island's richest political party last year (2016) with NT$18.1 billion (S$815 million) in reported assets, according to its financial statements, reported local media on Monday (July 17).

This is despite the party posting losses totalling NT$800 million since 2015, reported Taipei Times.

Last year, the KMT posted an income of NT$1.48 billion and expenditures of NT$2.07 billion, its financial disclosures to the Ministry of the Interior have shown.

The KMT declared its holdings under the party-owned Central Investment Co Ltd and Hsinyutai Co Ltd, which were last year declared illicit assets by the Ill-gotten Party Assets Settlement Committee.

The party's assets have been frozen in a government probe into its allegedly ill-gotten assets.

Central Investments and Hsinyutai last year had combined assets of NT$15.2 billion, NT$400 million less than 2015's figures, the statements show.

The KMT also declared NT$100 million in real estate and land, NT$3 million less than the previous year.

In addition, the KMT registered NT$93 million in "current liabilities", or debts it had to pay within 12 months, the statements show.

The liabilities were comprised of NT$90 million and NT$3 million in private loans that the KMT had borrowed from former chairwoman Hung Hsiu-chu and Vice Chairman Jason Hu, which had been paid in full by auditing time.

The KMT's estimated NT$2.07 billion in expenditures included more than NT$1 billion in personnel costs, NT$800 million in operational expenses and NT$162.36 million in outbound political donations and others.

The party's NT$1.48 billion in revenue was mainly from income gained in trust funds which made up an estimated NT$956 million, or 64.65 per cent of the total, it said.

The KMT also received NT$278 million in political subsidies, NT$122 million in political contributions, NT$116 million in membership dues and other sources, the statements showed.

Since 2006, political parties and organisations are required to disclose their financial statements in accordance with the Guidelines for the Financial Declarations of Political Parties and Political Organisations, according to Taipei Times.

The financial declarations are considered public information and the reports are to be made available later this month (July) on the ministry's website.

The KMT's assets, according to Taipei Times, continue to dwarf those of other major parties in Taiwan, including the ruling Democratic Progressive Party, which had a reported worth of NT$700 million last year.

The New Power Party, founded in early 2015, had a net worth of more than NT$20 million last year, its statements show.

As the KMT fled to Taiwan after losing the civil war to the communists in 1949, it reportedly took millions in gold, bonds and antiques that became part of the foundations of the party's fortunes.It also inherited assets nationalised by the Japanese during Japan's 50 years of colonial rule of Taiwan.

The KMT used those foundations to establish a party that held an unbroken grip on power until 2000, reported South China Morning Post.

The KMT insists the legislation on "ill-gotten political party assets" passed in July last year is a "political witch-hunt" by the ruling DPP designed to strip the KMT of its assets. The DPP, however, maintains the law is necessary to level the electoral playing field for political parties.

The law requires political parties formed before July 15, 1987 - when the island lifted martial law - to return all property obtained after 1945 to the government. The only exceptions to the legislation are party membership fees, political donations, government subsidies and interest derived from such funds. Parties must freeze all such assets and submit documentary proof of provenance to a Cabinet committee, which would determine if the property should be surrendered.

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