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BISHKEK (TCA) — Corruption has penetrated deeply into the courts, prosecutor's offices, financial police, the State Committee for National Security, and the police, President of Kyrgyzstan Sooronbai Jeenbekov said at the country's Security Council meeting on February 8. The meeting considered measures against corruption in the judicial, law enforcement and supervisory bodies of Kyrgyzstan.

Corruption is a problem that threatens the country’s national security, Jeenbekov believes.

The prosecutor's office, judicial and national security agencies must conduct a merciless fight against corruption. However, they themselves have mired in corruption and cannot fully perform their functions, the president said.

Voice of the people

Kyrgyz citizens demand that a decisive fight against corruption not only be continued but strengthened manifold. “We must hear the voice of the people and acknowledge the bitter truth. The fight against corruption must acquire a national character,” the President said.

“We must eradicate corruption from all areas without exception, from the highest echelons of power to each local village authority,” he added.

The most important force in this struggle is the political will of the head of state. “I promise the people that fighting corruption is a priority for me as President. I have such political will, and I am ready for this fight,” Jeenbekov said.

Expecting good results

In recent years, the state has done more for law enforcement officers. Over the past three years, 25 residential buildings have been built for law enforcement and national security officials. Their salaries and pensions have been raised. The technical base of law enforcement and security bodies is steadily improving.

In exchange, the State is expecting their better performance. However, some unscrupulous employees cast a shadow on the entire system. By creating shadow schemes, they negate the efforts of the best staff.

According to the Transparency International, Kyrgyzstan ranks 136th among 176 countries in terms of corruption. The results of recent surveys conducted by international organizations in the country showed that corruption and unemployment have become problems to society.

Organized crime and drug transit

Corruption is the main cause of the unsuccessful struggle against organized crime, Jeenbekov said. According to experts, the capitalization has reached great amount in the criminal sphere. The big money flowing would be impossible without the participation of high-ranking officials in law enforcement and judicial bodies, the President believes.

Organized criminal groups continuously conduct drug transit and smuggle goods. They are trying to control large profitable businesses, especially those related to excisable goods. If there were no corruption in the power structures, criminal groups would not be able to crank up such cases, Jeenbekov concluded.

Much of the corruption income is related to the drug business, and large amounts of money and many people are involved in the so called international "northern drug transit route".

Honest businesses suffer first

Due to shadow corruption schemes and economic crimes, the national budget is losing billions of soms.

Under various pretexts, criminal cases were initiated against entrepreneurs. Investigation of such cases, as a rule, was delayed for a long time, and after a while, many of those cases were closed, not reaching the court.

Honest business people who work transparently and pay taxes to the state budget suffer from corruption in law enforcement and supervisory bodies first and foremost. The entrepreneurs were subjected to illegal checks, they suffered big losses, went bankrupt, and were forced to close their businesses.

"Our task is to support honest entrepreneurs and establish fair competition in the business sphere,” the President said, adding that honest business supports the nation.

Judicial system

Jeenbekov spoke about corruption in the judicial system and the courts.

Over the past two years, the law enforcement agencies have initiated more than 76,000 criminal cases, only 30 percent of which reached the courts. It means that many cases were initiated unlawfully, the President concluded.

The Anti-Corruption Service under the State Committee for National Security (ACS) was established to combat corruption crimes in the highest echelons of power. Unfortunately, some of its employees have turned into an untouchable caste, the President said.

In 2017, the ACS revealed only 22 facts of bribery and two facts of embezzlement of state property in large amounts (the sale of state property for $8 thousand and the purchase of expensive building materials for the construction of a kindergarten).

In 2016-2017, more than 22,600 criminal cases were submitted to the courts, of which about 9,000 cases (40 percent) were terminated or suspended by the courts. This means that thousands of citizens for a long time could not obtain justice in court.

Over the past ten years, 97 criminal cases were initiated against judges, but only eight percent of them were brought to justice.

President Jeenbekov ordered to undertake urgent measures to clean law enforcement, supervisory and judicial bodies from unscrupulous employees.

Opinions

President Jeenbekov has made his first program statement after a long political pause he kept after the presidential elections.

A new Sooronbai Jeenbekov is appearing in the political arena. He is no longer a protege controlled by Almazbek Atambayev (former President of Kyrgyzstan) but a fully independent leader, political expert Marat Kazakpaev told Tuz.kg news agency. During the first months of his presidency since November 24, 2017, Jeenbekov has been engaged in solving external problems with Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and Russia. Jeenbekov has done it quite successfully so far, the expert added.

There was a lack of trust in law enforcement bodies before, but now it has decreased further, experts say. There are good laws in the country but they do not always work. The judges are dependent on the higher authorities who interfere in their work.

There are prerequisites for mass discontent in society, and the President decided to start with law enforcement agencies, expert Mars Sariev told Vesti.kg news agency. There is an opinion that the President’s criticism of the judicial, law enforcement and supervisory bodies will lead to “a mass purge”, up to the top leaders, he added.

MP Aida Kasymalieva believes that resignation of officials and changing one person with another would not solve the problem. A systemic approach and reforms are needed, she told 24.kg information agency.

Leader of the Adilet Youth Movement Tursunbek Beishenbekov asked the President not only to dismiss corrupt officials but also bring them to criminal responsibility.

The next Security Council meeting will discuss corruption in the mining, energy, financial, healthcare, and education sectors.

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