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Tajik Official Arrested For Stealing Pension Funds

QURGHON-TEPPA, Tajikistan -- A Tajik Labor and Social Care Ministry official has been arrested by the country's anticorruption agency, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Odina Ghafforov, the anticorruption agency's deputy chief in the southern Khatlon Province, said that Uktam Kuldoshev forged documents through which he received 550,000 somoni (about $143,000) from the local Amonatbank, falsely claiming the money would be going to pensioners.

But Amonatbank officials told RFE/RL that Kuldoshev's documents had authentic stamps and signatures on them.

There are some 180,000 pensioners in Khatlon, to whom the government now owes 2 million somoni.

Officials of the anticorruption agency added that they will now begin an examination of Tajikistan's pension payment system.