Antigua Observer:-The case brought against the government by Chinese businesswoman, Lihua Tian, has been withdrawn in face of the dismantling of the Committee of Inquiry which was set up to investigate the handling of her Citizenship by Investment Programme (CIP) application.
High Court Justice Rosalyn Wilkinson removed the case from the civil court’s docket in late January upon the request of Lihua’s lawyer, Dr David Dorsett.
Lihua is a Chinese businesswoman who invested over US $200,000 and obtained the Antigua & Barbuda passport under the CIP in 2015. She was fighting the government’s decision to deprive her of citizenship after alleging that she wilfully concealed material facts to support her application.
In an exclusive interview with OBSERVER media, Dr Dorsett said that there was no reason to pursue the matter any longer since the Committee of Inquiry collapsed with the resignation of a committee member, attorney Hollis Francis Jr, and no replacement was appointed.
“The member against whom there was an allegation of conflict of interest has resigned and by virtue of that, the committee cannot function. The committee [is unable] to function [because] it does not have the requisite membership. So, the case has ended and is no longer the subject of active litigation, except for costs,” Dr Dorsett said.
The claim of conflict of interest was made on the grounds that Francis Jr was serving on the independent three-member investigating committee, even while he was a CIP agent.
The lawyer/committee member resigned after Prime Minister Gaston Browne publicly declared he would revoke his appointment because it was a conflict of interest.