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Kazakhstan crushes on bribery in high-profile case

©RIA Novosti ©RIA Novosti

The Specialized Inter-District Criminal Court of Pavlodar has pronounced a ruling on a high-profile bribery case involving senior officials of Pavlodar Oblast, a region in northern Kazakhstan, Tengrinews reports. Ex-deputy governor of Pavlodar Oblast Arslan Abdykalykov was arrested immediately after the verdict.

The court found the former official guilty of attempted a large scale fraud involving abuse of power and incitement to bribery as part of a group of persons acting in collusion. The former ranking official was sentenced to five years in prison with confiscation of property. He was also forbidden from holding public office in the six consecutive years.

In the course of the trial, Abdykalykov retracted his confession given during the investigation, and said that he was pressured to give it.

The corruption scandal erupted in Palvodar Oblast in December 2013. Ex-advisor of the Oblast akim Tolegen Bastenov was arrested with a bribe of 8.7 million tenge ($47,000) that he received from an intermediary sent to him by a construction company. The kickback was intended as a reward for letting the company's bid win the government-run tender to construct a public school in Pavlodar.

In court, ex-advisor Tolegen Bastenov admitted that the money was to be passed on to the former Deputy Governor of the Oblast Arslan Abdykalykov. Bastenov was handed 3.6 years in prison on the counts similar to those the ex-deputy governor was sentenced on.

From the case materials it follows that representatives of the contracting company “SDE” Zaur Mansurov and Bekbolat Apsalyamov passed the bribe to the Pavlodar Deputy Akim through their intermediary Gizat Borombayev.

Businessman Zaur Mansurov, who was in jail during the pretrial period, was released in the courtroom. He was sentenced to a fine of 10 times the amount of the sum of the bribe - 87 million tenge ($470,000). He plead not guilty in court.

Two other defendants in the case, entrepreneurs Gizat Boranbayev and Bekbolat Apsalyamov, were found guilty of mediation in bribery. The court sentenced them to a fine of five times the amount of the bribe, or 43.5 million tenge ($234,000).

By Dinara Urazova, editing by Tatyana Kuzmina

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