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Turkmen Leader Sacks Roads Minister, University Dean

Turkmen President Saparmurat Niyazov in Ashgabat last month (epa) ASHGABAT, December 8, 2006 (RFE/RL) -- President Saparmurat Niyazov has sacked Roads Minister Baimukhammet Kelov, accusing him of "serious shortcomings" in his work.

Turkmenistan's TDH news agency on December 7 carried a presidential decree appointing Ashyrgeldy Zamanov Roads Minister with a six-month probation period, but said nothing about Kelov.

In remarks broadcast on Turkmen TV later that day, Niyazov held Kelov responsible for delays in the construction of a new highway and other misdeeds.

"During the construction of the Ashgabat-Dashhowuz highway, your people have embezzled [construction material worth] some 18 billion manat," he said. You have done a dirty job, Baimukhammet. I am relieving you from your duties of minister and I'm also ordering prosecutors to investigate you."

On the same day, Niyazov dismissed the dean of the International Turkmen-Turkish University, Chary Komekov, and replaced him with Education Minister Shemshat Annagylyjova.

He accused Komekov of extorting bribes from students and overlooking the deterioration of the university's curriculum.

(RFE/RL's Turkmen Service, Turkmen TV, TDH, Gundogar)

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