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Soldiers guarding a statue of Turkmen President Niyazov in Ashgabat (file photo) (epa)
March 5, 2006 – Turkmenistan's state television reports that President Saparmurat Niyazov has ordered security agencies to tighten scrutiny of Turkmenistan's heavy industry.
Niyazov signed an order to that effect on March 4 after firing the head of the country's largest oil refinery and the deputy head of the state natural gas company for corruption.
Amangeldi Pudakov, head of the state-owned Turkmenbashi refinery, is charged with entering into unauthorized contracts with foreign oil companies at inflated prices.
Sapar Eldashev, deputy head of Turkmengaz, is also charged with misappropriation of state funds.
Turkmenistan is the second-biggest gas producer in the former Soviet Union, after Russia.