The delegation of National Assembly (NA) deputies representing Ho Chi Minh City will convene a meeting this week to reach a proposition on the dismissal of Pham Phu Quoc, a lawmaker caught in a controversy regarding his dual citizenship status.
Ho Chi Minh City officials detailed their latest response regarding the dual citizenship status of Quoc during a press conference on Tuesday.
Phan Nguyen Nhu Khue, head of the Propaganda and Education Board under the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, chaired the event.
In an exposé published on August 28, Qatari Al Jazeera reported on the so-called ‘golden passport’ program of the Cypriot government, which allowed dozens of major political figures and their families to purchase Cyprus citizenship.
Named in the article was Pham Phu Quoc, a serving NA representative from Ho Chi Minh City whose five-year tenure will be completed in 2021.
According to a compilation of documents called ‘The Cyprus Papers’ by Al Jazeera, the application for Cypriot citizenship of Quoc and his wife Nguyen Phan Dieu Phuong was approved by Cyprus’ Ministry of Internal Affairs on December 12, 2018.
|Phan Nguyen Nhu Khue, head of the Propaganda and Education Board under the Ho Chi Minh City Party Committee, speaks at a press conference on the dual citizenship status of National Assembly representative Pham Phu Quoc, September 1, 2020. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre|
Answering Tuoi Tre’s inquiry on August 25, Quoc admitted to having obtained his Cypriot citizenship in 2018 through family sponsorship and refuted allegations that he 'bought' the citizenship.
In his opening remarks at Tuesday’s press conference addressing the lawmaker’s dual citizenshipcontroversy, Tu Luong, deputy director of Ho Chi Minh City’s Department of Information and Communications, affirmed city authorities’ swift response in clarifying the case.
Quoc submitted a letter of resignation from the NA position on August 25 while simultaneously being asked to step down from his chief executive role at state-owned Tan Thuan Industrial Promotion Co. Ltd (IPC) in Ho Chi Minh City, Luong said.
Ha Phuoc Thang, chief of office of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, claimed that the nomination of the NA seat by relevant agencies of the city during the 2016 general elections — before Quoc got his Cypriot citizenship — was in full compliance with regulations and procedures in place.
Quoc gained his second nationality in 2018 but did not report it to his senior management.
This is deemed a bad example of non-compliance with regulations of the Party and the institution, Thang said.
|Ha Phuoc Thang, chief of office of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee, speaks at a press conference on the dual citizenship status of National Assembly representative Pham Phu Quoc, September 1, 2020. Photo: Tu Trung / Tuoi Tre|
According to Thang, relevant agencies have been brought in to probe the situation after it was revealed by foreign and domestic media.
The Ho Chi Minh City’s NA delegation as well as municipal Party agencies have reviewed Quoc’s case in search of a resolution.
This week, the city’s NA delegation will convene a meeting to reach a proposition on the dismissal of Pham Phu Quoc from his NA seat and submit it to the Deputies’ Affairs Committee and the Standing Committee of the legislature, said Thang.
The municipal Party Committee will work with Quoc in September to review his responsibility as a Party member in reference to the Party’s regulations.
City leaders will order the Department of Internal Affairs to discharge Quoc from his chief executive position at the IPC this week.
Quoc’s responsibilities during his tenure at the Ho Chi Minh City Financial Investment State-Owned Company (HFIC) and IPC will be vetted before the dismissal.
Pham Phu Quoc, 52, was the general director of HFIC from 2015 until 2018 and was appointed general director of IPC on December 4, 2019.
He was elected to the 14th National Assembly in May 2016, serving the 2016-21 tenure.