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Tajik President Sacks Official Who Criticized Toll Road

Tajik official Amonullo Ashur has been fired as chair of the country's Antimonopoly Committee.
DUSHANBE -- Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has sacked the head of the country's Antimonopoly Committee, RFE/RL's Tajik Service reports.

Rahmon fired Amonullo Ashur on January 21 without giving any reason. He announced that Ashur will now head the state's Privatization Support Committee.

Ashur told RFE/RL he is thankful to Rahmon "for not leaving me on the streets." Ashur made news last year when he publicly criticized the introduction of a toll road on the important Dushanbe-Khujand highway.

Tajikistan analysts said Ashur's position on the controversial toll road issue forced the company in charge of the road, Innovative Road Solutions (IRS), to reduce the toll for driving on the highway. Ashur had criticized IRS and demanded it report its income to tax authorities.

Several media outlets, including Deutsche Welle, reported last year that IRS was registered in the Virgin Islands by a man named Jamoliddin Nuraliev. Rahmon has a son-in-law with the same name, and he is also Tajikistan's deputy finance minister.

But Jamoliddin Nuraliev, the president's son-in-law, told RFE/RL in July that rumors about his involvement in registering IRS as a company or being a part of its operations were untrue.

Dushanbe-based expert Marat Mamadshoev told RFE/RL it is likely that influential advisers and aides to Rahmon played a role in Ashur's sacking. Mamadshoev said that in his new position, Ashur would not be able to monitor IRS's activities.

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