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Former Senior Kyrgyz Official Sentenced To 14 Years In Construction Project Bribery Case

Former Kyrgyz Deputy Transport Minister Azimkan Jusubaliev (file photo)
Former Kyrgyz Deputy Transport Minister Azimkan Jusubaliev (file photo)

BISHKEK -- Kyrgyzstan's former Deputy Minister of Transport Azimkan Jusubaliev has been sentenced to 14 years in prison for his role in a bribery scandal for a road reconstruction project.

The Birinchi Mai district court found Azimkan Jusubaliev guilty and handed down the sentence late in the evening of July 30.

Jusubaliev's defense team said the court's ruling will be appealed.

The former government official was arrested in December after he was caught receiving part of a $520,000 bribe from a construction company that wanted to win a tender for a highway construction project.

A person who arranged the receipt of the bribe, Bolot Toktobaev, was sentenced to six years in prison and a representative of an Italian company based in Almaty, Kazakhstan, Belkhruz Gulruzov, who was found guilty of offering the bribe, was ordered to pay a fine of 2 million soms ($25,700).

Jusubaliev's arrest in December sparked harsh public criticism of the Transport Ministry and led to President Sooronbai Jeenbekov's decision to fire Transport Minister Jamshitbek Kalilov.

Kyrgyzstan, whose economic health -- like that of many former Soviet republics -- has been harmed by corruption, passed a law in January that enables police and citizens who report cases of official graft to receive a portion of any financial damages recovered by the state.

Citizens who report corruption among the authorities in the Central Asian state are also to be provided with protection, according to the law.