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Dushanbe Says Top Official Caught Taking Half-Million Dollar Bribe


Tajik government official Askar Nuralizoda (file photo)

DUSHANBE -- Tajikistan's Anticorruption Agency says a top government official has been caught while taking a $490,000 bribe.

The agency said on October 3 that Askar Nuralizoda of the Economic Development Ministry's department for investments was caught red-handed accepting the cash bribe in a restaurant in Dushanbe on September 28.

Investigators also found $10,000 in Nuralizoda's home, the agency added.

It said that Nuralizoda requested a $1 million bribe and a three-room apartment from a resident of the Jaloliddini Balhi district.

In exchange, the official would have included the development of poultry production in the district in the 2016-2020 state investment program.

Authorities in the economically struggling Central Asian country launched an anticorruption crackdown in April, targeting officials and ex-officials of the Anticorruption Agency and the Customs Service.

Last month, a former top officer at the Anticorruption Agency, Firuz Holmurodzoda, was convicted on corruption charges and sentenced to 15 years in prison.

And in July, the Supreme Court sentenced former Anticorruption Agency Deputy Director Davlatbek Hairzoda and an ex-deputy chief of the Customs Service in Sughd Province, Faridun Benazirzoda, to 10 1/2 years in prison on similar charges.

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