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Wikileaks Cable on Kazakhstan "Anti-corruption"

Wikileaks Cable on Kazakhstan "Anti-corruption"

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Published by: iamandrebulatov on Jul 22, 2011
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 Wednesday, 22 April 2009, 11:43
C O N F I D E N T I A LASTANA 000677
EO 12958
REF: A. 08ASTANA 0680 B. 08 ASTANA 1309
Classified By: AmbassadorRichard E. Hoagland, 1.4 (b) and (d)
. The Americans assess a Kazakh move to prosecute several high-ranking officials,including government ministers, for corruption-related crimes. Key passageshighlighted in yellow.
 .Linked article below ======== 
1. (C) SUMMARY: The Kazakhstani authorities recentlylaunched a well-publicized anti-corruption campaignthat has resulted in the arrest of several high-rankingindividuals, including the Minister of Environment anda Deputy Minister of Defense, and in convictions of anumber of others. The campaign appears to have the fullsupport of President Nazarbayev, who has repeatedlycalled on the government and the ruling Nur Otan partyto battle this "most serious evil." Political analystsand civil society leaders remain skeptical, however,that the government's clean-up efforts will bringpermanent results. Most see the campaign simply asevidence of a power struggle among elite groups withinthe Kazakhstani government and doubt that any of the"biggest fish" will be affected. END SUMMARY.GOVERNMENT LAUNCHES ANTI-CORRUPTION CAMPAIGN2. (SBU) The Kazakhstani authorities recently launcheda well-publicized anti-corruption campaign that seems
to be aimed at the higher echelons of the governmentand has already brought down several seniorindividuals. Over the past two months, the Agency forFighting Economic Crimes and Corruption (also known asthe Financial Police) launched investigations againstseveral government officials on suspicion of corruptionand abuse of power. The list includes Minister ofEnvironment Nurlan Iskakov and two of his deputyministers, the director of the Astana City ConstructionCompany and one of his deputies, the Chairman of theWater Resources Committee, and the Director of theAstana Health Department. All of the officials havebeen removed from their positions and are currently indetention or under house arrest pending the outcome ofinvestigations against them. Investigations have alsobeen launched against numerous mid-level officials andofficials in local government, and two regionalgovernors -- for South Kazakhstan and East Kazakhstanoblasts -- have been replaced and are underinvestigation. In addition, on April 13, the Committeefor National Security (KNB) detained Deputy DefenseMinister Kazhimurat Mayermanov on suspicion of abuse ofoffice (i.e., corruption) in connection with governmentcontracts with two Israeli defense firms to design andmanufacture new artillery systems.3. (SBU) Several high-ranking government officials werecharged or prosecuted for corruption-related crimes inan earlier "wave" last year. In August 2008, YuriyTleumuratov, the Chairman of the Financial ControlCommittee at the Ministry of Finance, and RuslanYusupov, an office director in the same committee, werearrested and charged with bribery and abuse of power.(NOTE: Then-Tax Committee Chairman Nurlan Rahkmetovresigned shortly thereafter, stating that ethics rulesdemand he share responsibility for the wrong-doings of
his subordinates. Some commentators suggested, however,that he had been directly involved in the crimes. ENDNOTE.) In November 2008, Zhaksybek Kulekeyev, theformer chairman of the national railroad company TemirZholy, was convicted of accepting bribes and abusinghis authority (see ref A).4. (SBU) Perhaps the most high-profile officialconvicted of corruption-related crimes is SerikBurkitbayev, the former head of KazMunaiGaz and a one-time advisor to President Nazarbayev (see ref B).Burkitbayev was tried in a closed trial and convictedon March 24 for abuse of power, misappropriation ofproperty, and embezzlement. His case, however, issurrounded by political intrigue -- Burkitbayev was atone point a close associate of Rakhat Aliyev,Nazarbayev's exiled former son-in-law, and some pressreports have suggested that his conviction was theresult of his links to Aliyev rather than his corruptdealings. Some media accounts claimed that Burkitbayevprovided Aliyev with the eavesdropping equipment heapparently used to record embarrassing conversationsamong senior government officials which were lateruploaded to the Internet. Aliyev himself publiclycriticized the conviction and vowed to bring theattention of the international community to the case.ORDER COMES FROM THE TOP5. (SBU) The anti-corruption drive certainly has thehighest backing. On April 1, President Nazarbayevcommended Financial Police head Kairat Kozhamzharov forhis anti-corruption efforts and told him to continuethe fight "irrespective of people's status andconnections."Nazarbayev has repeatedly called on thegovernment and the ruling Nur Otan party to battle this

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