High-ranking official caught taking half-million dollar bribe in Tajikistan

DUSHANBE (TCA) — Tajikistan’s Anticorruption Agency says a top government official has been caught while taking a $490,000 bribe, RFE/RL’s Tajik Service reports.

The agency said on October 3 that Askar Nuralizoda of the Economic Development Ministry’s department for investments was caught red-handed accepting the cash bribe in a restaurant in Dushanbe on September 28.

Investigators also found $10,000 in Nuralizoda’s home, the agency added.

It said that Nuralizoda requested a $1 million bribe and a three-room apartment from a resident of the Jaloliddini Balhi district.

In exchange, the official would have included the development of poultry production in the district in the 2016-2020 state investment program.

Authorities in the economically struggling Central Asian country launched an anticorruption crackdown in April, targeting officials and ex-officials of the Anticorruption Agency and the Customs Service.

Last month, a former top officer at the Anticorruption Agency, Firuz Holmurodzoda, was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

And in July, the Supreme Court sentenced former Anticorruption Agency Deputy Director Davlatbek Hairzoda and an ex-deputy chief of the Customs Service in Sughd Province, Faridun Benazirzoda, to 10.5 years in prison on similar charges.

Some analysts believe the ongoing anti-corruption campaign in Tajikistan is a part of the struggle of the elites amid the increasing efforts of the ruling family to consolidate their grip on power.

Sergey Kwan


Sergey Kwan has worked for The Times of Central Asia as a journalist, translator and editor since its foundation in March 1999. Prior to this, from 1996-1997, he worked as a translator at The Kyrgyzstan Chronicle, and from 1997-1999, as a translator at The Central Asian Post.
Kwan studied at the Bishkek Polytechnic Institute from 1990-1994, before completing his training in print journalism in Denmark.

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