By Azamat Maitanov
A serious scandal developed around Embamunaygas Production Branch in Atyrau Oblast.
The noise is sparkled by an anonymous letter posted in the Internet under a loud title - "Zhanaozen syndrome in Atyrau. Why don't Embamunaygas draw a conclusion from the Zhanaozen bloodshed?", describing facts of public funds embezzlement, allegedly, by the present Embamunaygas general director Zhumabek Zhamauov.
Hero of the web
"On behalf of the whole staff," the authors of the letter claim that "in the event tenders continue to be distributed by the principles of kinship and acquaintanceship, now blossoming in Embamunaygas, a company developing numerous oil and gas fields in Atyrau Oblast with a personnel of over six thousand people, the region will quite likely see bloody events as did Zhanaozen in 2011."
It is also mentioned that regional law enforcement agencies, financial police and the Kazmunaygas CEO Lyazzat Kiyinov pay no attention to the violations.
Judging by the details provided, the composers are very aware people, apparently, not regular oilmen working next to oilwells. Company titles, famous oil clans these companies affiliated with, specific sums and names of those partitioning the money allocated for modernization and service of domestic oil industry are provided.
Tell me what company you keep...
Zhumabek Zhamauov, Kadyrbayevich. Born on July 17, 1955. Graduated from Kazakh Polytechnic Institute named after V.I. Lenin with a specialty - Drilling Oil and Gas Wells. Deputy General Director - Gyural JV; General Director - Armak LLP; Director - KazakhMunayService LLP; 2008-2010 - General Director - Kazmunaygas-Bureniye LLP; From 2010 - Director of Production Branch Embamunaygas
Besides, Zhamauov is accused of dealing with Bergei Ryskaliyev, to whose men he allegedly had to give "a nice contract" to totally repair administrative and utility facilities of ZhyloiMynayGas in Kulsary and to install pumps for KainarMunayGas, an Embamunaygas branch.
"By means of tender, Zhamauov trusted these works to Gimarat LLP belonging to Balzhigitov brothers, who control water, heat, domestic gas and electricity supply systems in the town of Kulsary. Balzhigitovs are thought to be "men" of Bergei Ryskaliyev, the former governor of Atyrau Oblast now hiding abroad.
In due time, Gimarat was involved in construction of living houses by a government contract in the village of Makhambet, which all, with no exception, turned out to be of poor quality and later simply collapsed.
At the time, the national channel Khabar aired a footage how the republican anti-corruption commissioner Oralbai Abdikarimov reprimanded the then governor Ryskaliyev.
Despite that, Gimarat, a company with damaged reputation, wins a contract of Embamunaygas, fails to fulfill liabilities and damages the state for over 41 million tenge," the authors say.
Among the other contracting firms, the list includes Firma ATK, said to be under control of Kenzhebek Ibrashev, former general director of Exploration & Production Kazmunaygas JSC.
"In 2012, it won a tender worth 361,431,900 tenge of ZhaikMunayGas, also an Embamunaygas affiliate, but the actual volume of works done amounted just 64,264,280 tenge."
The anonyms wonder why Zhamauov, "with eyes closed," signed acts of acceptance of works: "Nobody knows what is the reason - it is either his friendship with Bergei Ryskaliyev or the fact that he is a man of Nurlan Balgimbayev."
Nurlan BalgimbayevThe letter provides that Zhumabek Zhamauov himself owns a private company Temirzhol Kurylys-Atyrau that won a contract of Embamunaygas to construct a 12km railway from the Atyrau-Astrakhan route to the field of Balgimbayev with a project cost of 765 million tenge.
"However, Temirzhol Kurylys-Atyrau performed only 26% of the liabilities undertaken, for 196 million. Imagine, where the rest of the money is."
Negative effect of the corruption in Embamunaygas on social condition of ordinary oil workers and local population is also mentioned.
Victims or offenders
Trying to directly contact the composers of the letter, via intermediaries I promised them full confidentiality, but in response it was made clear the main goal of the letter was not to catch and punish corruptionists, but to attract public attention and to involve certain powers in Astana in the conflict. By the way, a number of Embamunaygas managers fell the victim of such anonymous letters over the past few years. Of course, they might have been too weak and had no experience to do the job indeed and just stole money. Yet, the public was told nothing.
A similar letter, but signed by the workers of the field of Prorva [Embamunaygas], was addressed to the KMG head, Lyazzat Kiyinov. The oilmen complained about violations of work contracts, in particular, illegal extension of workdays. As the protesters said, in the event the violations are not removed, they will have to come out for a peaceful rally.
Changing of the guardLyazzat Kiyinov
The reason for the scandalous letter, from our point of view, is another repartition of influence in the branches of Kazmunaygas. It is known that domestic oil industry has seen a blossoming corruption and tribalism over the past 20 years, by and large, clashing interests of Southern, Western and Astana clans. In early '90s, the entire oil and gas service with billions in turnover was clearly shared between oil clans of Atyrau and Mangystau. Now a tough competition is running in the production branches of Exploration & Production KMG where no strangers are allowed.
According to our informal sources in Kazmunaygas, currently clans of Lyazzat Kiyinov and Nurlan Balgimbayev are actively being pushed out of oil industry. At the time, the both used to totally control staff and money issues in the sector, until the president's senior son-in-law was given MangistauMunayGas for free, the middle got KazTransOil and KazTransGas, and many of the rest was sold to foreigners at low price.
The veterans are also being forced out by a generation of technocrats - managers with Western diplomas backed by the ministry of oil and gas. Kiyinov has been asked to leave the chair of KMG CEO, but he refused. This is the reason why his people in Embamunaygas are facing accusation of corruption.
Here comes Finpol
Bulat AkchulakovThe top power kept eyes closed during the conflict in Zhanaozen, but the response at the latest signal from Atyrau was lightning-fast. Sources say in the end of the last week, a letter came to Atyrau from Vice Minister of Oil and Gas, Bulat Akchulakov. Likely, the question of the incumbent management of Embamunaygas will soon be reviewed at a special meeting in KMG. Let's see will Chairman Kiyinov be able to defend his people?
Besides, informal sources advised the anonymous letter is now an object of interest of financial police, which is now carrying on pre-investigation check and inspecting documents in Embamunaygas office and its contractors.