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Former Dushanbe Mayor's Office Under Scrutiny From Investigators

Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev is currently chairman of the Majlisi Milli, Tajikistan's upper house of parliament.

The operations of former Dushanbe Mayor Mahmadsaid Ubaidulloev's office are being examined by investigators two weeks after he was replaced by Tajik President Emomali Rahmon's son.

The deputy chief of Tajikistan's Anticorruption Agency, Iliyos Idriszoda, said on January 27 that a preliminary investigation had been launched into possible embezzlement of state funds by staff members during Ubaidulloev's long tenure as mayor of the capital.

Idriszoda told journalists that the investigation was launched after the agency received complaints from several Dushanbe residents who suspected that state funds allocated for the construction of apartment blocks were misused.

He said that the new mayor, Rustam Emomali, had also asked the agency to look into the situation.

Emomali, 29, was appointed mayor by his father on January 12.

Ubaidulloev, 64, was mayor for 19 years. He remains chairman of the parliament's upper chamber, the Majlisi Milli, and is considered Tajikistan's No. 2 leader after the president.

Rahmon has ruled the poor, predominantly Muslim former Soviet republic since 1992.

Rights groups and opponents say he tolerates little dissent and suppresses his critics.