Mayor of Tashkent's Yunusabad district Bakhtiyor Abdusamatov was caught taking US$ 400 thousand in bribe from an investor after promising he would in return allocate him a land plot, Kun.uz said.
Business people routinely complain of being asked by government officials to pay bribes before receiving services and the critics say the vice undermines the flow of investment and stifles entrepreneurship.
Abdusamatov was arrested in an operation by the State Security Service (DXX), with several people involved in the case and now facing charges.
Baxtiyor Abdusamatov, 42, graduated from University of World Economy and Diplomacy (1996) and Tashkent State University of Economicy (2003).
He worked as Deputy Minister of Foreign Economic Relations, Investments and Trade and Chairman of the Committee for Nature Protection.
He was reprimanded on April 11, 2017 during a government meeting chaired by the President, and a week later was sent to the district mayor’s office.
Taking bribes and embezzlement of public funds is rampant in Uzbekistan, but arrests of governors, mayors and other top government officials accused of graft have been occasionally occurring over the last one year or so. At the same time, low wages of Uzbek civil servants is not helping to deter corruption, when various level public servants make around 200-300 USD in salary, whilst handling decisions, like issuance of permits, waivers and etc., which could involve bribes between 20,000-500,000 USD and over, then the temptation is overwhelming.
The situation is not being helped either with lenient punishment for such crimes, between 8 to 10 years in prison, but which could be cut down to 3-4 years, if the right sequence of actions is taken and the right persons are taken care of. So in the end of the day, an embezzler, having pocketed serious sums of cash in a number of detected and undetected bribetaking, serves 3-4 years in prison in relatively comfortable conditions, if again the right officials are taken care of, and will be well off (100,000+) when he is out of the prison. And what is even more scandalous, those people relaunch their civil careers. So the equation is largely pro-embezzlement and pro-corruption.