Vietnamese assemblywoman dismissed for alleged housing fraud

By Ha Nguyen, Thanh Nien News

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Chau Thi Thu Nga in a National Assembly session. Photo credit: Nguoi Lao Dong 
The National Assembly, Vietnam's top legislative body, on Thursday dismissed a lawmaker for alleged fraud involving a housing project.
Chau Thi Thu Nga, 49, was officially dismissed after more than 90 percent of deputies voted against her.
The businesswoman from Hanoi was taken into custody on January 7. Earlier the same day, she was temporarily suspended from the National Assembly, which effectively removed her criminal immunity.
Nga is the chairwoman and CEO of the Land and Housing Construction and Investment JSC.
According to police, they received complaints from 221 homebuyers who made down payments of more than VND114 billion (US$5.2 million) for a Hanoi housing project that her company and the Hanoi Import, Export and Construction Investment and Development Company were developing. 
The homebuyers paid her company between 2009 and 2010, but work on the project has never got started since. It was scheduled to finish by the end of this year but the project site has remained just a fallow piece of land.
Nga had not returned their money, they said.
Acting on the complaints, police arrested Nguyen Van Tuan, former chairman and director of the Hanoi Import, Export and Construction Investment and Development Company in October 2013.
In March 2014, the Hanoi municipal administration asked the police to launch a criminal probe into the project, only to find out that it was not licensed.
Nga is the second female lawmaker to be dismissed from the National Assembly.
In 2012, the National Assembly dismissed Dang Thi Hoang Yen, one of the country's richest women, for an untruthful biography related to her marriage to a fugitive overseas Vietnamese businessman wanted by Vietnamese police on swindling charges.

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