Agency for Fighting Corruption – a repressive machine guarding the interests of the main corruptionist of Kazakhstan.
In the first part of the article I elaborated on the history of the Agency for Fighting Corruption based on financial police and subordinated to Nursultan Nazarbaev personally. For the last 10 years it has been a symbol of fight for power and punishment of personas non grata. The second part will be about the reasons for which Kazakhstan for the period the Agency exists not has just failed to get rid of corruption, but slid from the 107th to the 140th line in the international rating of Transparency International foundation. For comparison, for the same period Georgia has left the first hundred of most corrupt countries and occupied the 55th position in the rating of 2013, instead of the 130th it occupied in 2005. As you can see, if desired corruption can be overcome. The matter is that in Kazakhstan under the guise of combating it they are busy with quite other things.
Bees against Honey
In the countries with developed economy and the minimal corruption level, which are on the top of Transparency International rating, there are no special Agencies for fighting corruption. In general, the international experience does not speak in favor of establishment of separate institutions for combating economic crimes. Prevention and monitoring are carried out in accordance with a regular procedure, under the surveillance of tax authorities being a part of the Ministry of Finance. Kazakhstan along with the Agency for Fighting Corruption has a tax committee too. It would be interesting to look through the biographies of people who have headed it for the last 10 years.
Ergozhin Dautlet Erdilovich – Head of the Tax Committee of Kazakh Ministry of Finance in 2006 – 2007. Before this time, in 1998, Ergozhin worked at NOTC “KazTransOil”; since 2003 he has been Deputy Head of Department of KazMunaiGas North Caspian Sea Project; since July of 2005 - Deputy General Director for Economics and Finance of KazMunaiTeniz. Today’s Chairman of the Tax Committee of Kazakh Ministry of Finance – Dzhumadildaev Anuar Serkulovich becomes a government employee in 2003 after work at ALGZ.
There is an interesting trend – both the heads of the Tax Committee come from institutions directly or indirectly affiliated from KazMunaiGas, being under control of President’s son-in-law Timur Kulibaev (on the right, in the photo).
It turns out that institutions of Timur Kulibaev provide government employees. What can Kulibaev’s protégées do in the Tax Committee? They can clear the tax field for multinational companies, create preferential tax regime, and incentives for oil companies and commercial institutions they come from. It’s called laundering of money from the budget. Here is the extract from report of the international organization Global Witness:
“Accounting and reporting requirements to open joint-stock companies and elected officials do not apply to KazMunaiGas Kazakh state oil and gas company owning inter alia 20% of Tengiz oil field. It operates behind a veil of secrecy, without any general publication requirements”. Another quotation from Transparency International report:”KazMunaiGas provides relatively little data on deductions from its income and payments in accordance with anti-corruption programs”, and due to this fact the company has been classified as medium in terms of income transparency”.
International organizations for transparency call combating corruption in Kazakhstan “declarative” and note that in the country there are no real means to inform the public about generation and use of income obtained from raw material industries.
Such estimates are given against the background of consolidation of the Agency’s position, including in terms of legislation. Since 2005 the Agency has been granted a right of legislative initiative, and since then the guys from financial police have been actively working in this field. In 2009 the Parliament of the Republic, on the tip of the financial police, approved a number of amendments to the Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan, including the following: ”Along with the existing jurisdiction, financial police is granted an exclusive right to investigate crimes, connected with abuse and excess of power, committed by officials (second parts of articles 307 and 308 of the Criminal Code)”.
At the same time, the rest of the institutions are kind of inactive. There is no evolution and improvement in tax authorities’ work. Not repressive, but primarily preventive. Nobody works at improvement of laws to enhance efficiency of oil and extracting companies in Kazakhstan. Oil kings are against corruption like bees are against honey.
While the Kulibaev – Masimov tandem builds up Kazakhstan CJSC economy, Nursultan Nazarbaev is absorbed in geopolitics and international relations. The agency subordinated to him actively integrates into international anti-corruption project and international organizations. In 2009, according to the data posted on the Agency’s site in the “international cooperation” section: “At the initiative of Kazakhstan Agency for Fighting Corruption and Economic Crimes (financial police), under the auspices of the head of the country and under the aegis of Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, on September 16 - 18 of the current year an international conference on fighting corruption was held. Delegates from 44 states of the world took part in its three-day work”.
It is interesting that the delegates of the anti-corruption conference were impressed by the scale of the event. Secretary General of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Aart de Heus even said that he was surprised, since it was the first time when an OECD member covered the major part of the expense. Press release of the agency for 2009 states the following: “Kazakhstan as a receiving party provided room and equipment for the press conference, as well as paid or transportation, accommodation and meals for the majority of guests”. By the way, the visitors lived in “Rixos President Hotel” and “Diplomat”. In general, everything for fighting corruption for taxpayers’ money!
Such an intense promotion in international organizations and institutions was not only part of a strange and personal PR campaign of Nursultan Nazarbaev. A wide international scale allowed for establishing relations at various levels. In the section “cooperation and international activity” it is mentioned that the Agency’s delegates took part in the following conferences: “on combating drug trafficking”, “on combating the financing of terrorism”, and even the International Police Symposium in Dubai. As you can see, the profile of the institution was growing wider and wider together with the geography of travel – from the Arab Emirates to Europe, from China to the USA.
This intense international activity resulted, for example, in the opportunity to extradite chief of security of Mukhtar Ablyazov– Alexander Pavlov. In Kazakhstan Pavlov was no less than accused of terrorism and fraud, and such serious charge was the ground for Pavlov’s arrest in Spain. As a result it took Spanish lawyers several months to prove that extradition of their client had been politically motivated Ablyazov’s case. As you can see, the applied international cooperation standards are not just subject to profanation, but are used in a cynic manner against the citizens. Anyone can be accused of doing anything, following the old repressive rule: “for any man there is an article”.
Р.S. Recently there have been lots of rumors in Kazakhstan that the Agency for Fighting Corruption may be liquidated. Chances are, Nursultan Nazarbaev, summing up his activity will really try to get rid of the Agency, since its files consist of the cases initiated at the President’s order. They are multivolume documentary witness of repression in today’s Kazakhstan. Not of fighting corruption but primarily punishments of personas non grata. Such files are not beneficial for the Agency’s management: ex-Chairman Dulat Kozhamzharov (since 2013- Chairman of Security Council of the Republiс of Kazakhstan), actual Chairman – Rashid Tusupbekov and his deputy Andrey Lukin. They can be compared to Yagoda, Beriya and Ezhov.
* the text is edited by the Press Secretary
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