Wealthy Vietnamese lawmaker-elect sacked over illegal dual citizenship

By Vo Van Thanh   July 17, 2016 | 04:30 pm PT
Wealthy Vietnamese lawmaker-elect sacked over illegal dual citizenship
Lawmaker-elect Nguyen Thi Nguyet Huong. File photo
She has become the second MP to be dismissed in just 3 days.

A Vietnamese businesswoman has been ousted from the National Assembly just days before the newly-installed national legislature convenes its first plenary session, after she was accused of concurrently holding the Malta citizenship.

Nguyen Thi Nguyet Huong has been found in breach of Vietnam's Law on Nationality, which prohibits Vietnamese citizens from having dual citizenship, Nguyen Hanh Phuc, chief of staff of the National Election Council, told VnExpress late Sunday. Only overseas Vietnamese who register with Vietnamese diplomatic missions to keep their Vietnamese nationality are eligible for dual citizenship.

It was not until Friday that the National Election Council detected Huong's undeclared dual citizenship. Phuc said, prompting the council to call a snap meeting Sunday in which its members unanimously voted to strip Huong of her lawmaker-elect status. 

Huong herself had sent a request to the panel asking to step down. But Phuc stopped short of explaining how the council was able to detect her wrongdoing.

Huong was not immediately available for comments Sunday. It is not clear why she has adopted the citizenship of the Republic of Malta, one of the world's smallest and most densely populated countries and located in the Central Mediterranean Sea. 

Huong, 46, is a businesswoman and a deputy of the outgoing National Assembly. 

She is the chair of VID group, which invests in 10 industrial parks in Hung Yen, Ha Nam and Hai Duong provinces. She also chairs TNG Holdings Vietnam, the investor of several urban area and apartment projects in Hanoi. She too held leadership positions at several banks.

Last May, around 69 million Vietnamese cast their votes to choose representatives for an intended 500-seat National Assembly. Huong was elected along with 495 other candidates.

On Friday, Trinh Xuan Thanh, former vice chairman of Hau Giang's provincial government, was also dismissed before the new National Assembly convenes its first plenary session on July 20.

Thanh was stripped of his status after the Communist Party held him accountable for massive losses at a major state-owned oil corporation and rebuked him for illegally using a government license plate on his private luxury car.

After the latest dismissals, the new National Assembly will have 494 deputies.

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