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Kazakhstan Embassy in London paid $60 thousand in parking fines

15 july 2011, 10:50
0
©REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
©REUTERS/Luke MacGregor
Kazakhstan Embassy in London has paid off the debts on parking fines, BBC News writes.

Employees of Kazakhstan diplomatic mission are considered the most frequent violators compared to other diplomatic representative offices in the British capital. Kazakhstan Embassy has paid off the remaining £37,160 (about $60 thousand) for 627 tickets and left the debtors list. Kazakhstan Embassy had the maximum number of unpaid parking fines, London authorities said.

According to Westminster Council, such prominent countries as China, Turkey, Afghanistan, the UAE, Cyprus, France, the US and Germany are still among the top 10 fine dodgers.

According to The Telegraph, in the beginning of the year owners of Kazakhstan vehicles owed more than £189,640 (about $306 thousand) in fines generated from 1,715 unpaid tickets.

One of its diplomats, the driver of a black BMW 318i racked up an impressive total of 471 unpaid tickets, worth a total of £53,820 ($87 thousand).

Executive secretary of Kazakhstan Foreign ministry Rapil Zhoshimayev said that the Ministry held an internal investigation after publication of fines of Kazakhstan diplomats by The Telegraph. All the fines were paid by the embassy employees out of their own funds, he said.

According to Zhoshibayev, there is a rule that if diplomatic workers incorrectly park their cars with diplomatic plate numbers, they should bear the responsibility themselves and out of their own funds.

Press-secretary of Kazakhstan Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ilyas Omarov explained that the parking rules are so often being violated by Kazakhstan diplomats in London because of the uncomfortable location of the Kazakh Embassy in London.

“The thing is that our embassy is located in the center of London and it is nearly impossible to park anywhere near it. We are renting this building, but the issue of parking is still not resolved,” he said.

According to Omarov, there are no such problems with Kazakhstan embassies around the world. “For example, parking lot next to the building of Kazakhstan Embassy in Tokyo does not create such problems, as it does in London. There are many cars in England and London is always blocked with traffic jams,” Omarov said.

According to the Foreign Ministry, Kazakhstan might be willing to adopt the British effective experience of publishing information about violations of law by foreign diplomats and representative offices.

Another embassy that has already paid its fines and left the dodgers list in London is the Nigerian one. Nigerian Embassy cleared its £3,450 bill (about $6 thousand) for 78 offences last year.

Employees of many diplomatic missions often refuse to pay parking fines referring to their diplomatic immunity.

"If you inconvenience other drivers by parking incorrectly in Westminster then you'll get a parking ticket and you should have to pay, regardless of who you are or your job title. Citing 'diplomatic immunity' as an excuse for not paying tickets is clearly unacceptable," Lee Rowley, Westminster Council's cabinet member for parking, is quoted by BBC News as saying.

The Conservative-run council said it was owed £1,099,604 ($1.8 million) in outstanding fines that it had handed out since 2007.

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