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Turkmen President Sacks Energy Minister

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov (file photo) (RFE/RL) Ashgabat, 1 November 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov has sacked a top government energy official.

Niyazov dismissed Guychnazar Tachnazarov, a former deputy prime minister and minister of the oil and gas industry. In a meeting yesterday, Niyazov told Tachnazarov he was being sacked for "grave shortcomings" in his work.

"You couldn't perform your duties. When you were state minister and deputy prime minister, you failed in your job," the president said. "This resulted in grave shortcomings. That is why I am dismissing you."

Niyazov accused Tachnazarov of misappropriating millions of dollars of state funds, and advised him that a criminal

investigation has been launched.

Niyazov appointed Atamyrat Berdiyev, a deputy chairman of the Cabinet of Ministers, to head the oil and gas ministry.

Niyazov regularly dismisses and reshuffles government officials, many due to accusations of corruption.

(RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, Interfax, ITAR-TASS)