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Vietnamese legislator implicated in Formosa scandal resigns

Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 12:03 GMT+7

Vietnam's lawmaking National Assembly has approved the request of Vo Kim Cu, one of four former officials punished by the government for their roles in the Formosa environmental disaster last year, to step down as a legislator.

The legislature’s Standing Committee passed the resolution with majority votes to allow Cu, 60, to leave his post, less than a month after he submitted a petition to resign, saying his health no longer permitted him to continue working as a lawmaker.

The resolution was issued based on Cu’s own petition and his punishment for being involved in the so-called Formosa scandal, Tran Van Tuy, head of personnel of the National Assembly, confirmed on Monday.

Vo Kim Cu was voted in as one of 494 members of the 14th National Assembly for the 2016-21 tenure in May of 2016.

Cu retains two official positions, chairman of the Vietnam Cooperative Alliance and member of the presidium of the Central Committee of the Vietnam Fatherland Front.

These titles are also under scrutiny by regulatory agencies however, a source told Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper.

Many had expected Cu to be stripped of his lawmaking status, given his considerable role in the Formosa scandal that killed tons of fish following the release of chemicals by a steel mill owned by Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group last year along 200km of the Vietnamese coast.

In 2008, Cu, the then-deputy chairman of Ha Tinh Province, granted the license for Formosa to officially start developing the steel mill in the provincial Vung Ang Economic Zone.

When the Formosa scandal broke last year, Cu deflected blame and denied that he should be held responsible for the license he gave to the Taiwanese firm in 2008.

As of January 2015, Cu was chairman of the Ha Tinh administration and secretary of the provincial Party Committee – the province’s most senior leader.

As punishment for his role in the Formosa incident, earlier this year Cu was relieved of his past position as the Ha Tinh Party chief, with the government also tasking the Ministry of Home Affairs with reviewing Cu’s provincial chairmanship in the 2010-15 tenure.

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