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Annual state budget stolen in Atyrau Oblast. What was financial police doing then?

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The financial police finished investigation into the most high-profile criminal case of recent years – the corruption case in Atyrau. Seems like affairs in the oil rich region were put on a continuous line. Among the accused were almost the whole top of local power and business elite, headed by the former governor Bergei Ryskaliyev, now called the criminal elite. shares its point of view on this scandalous case.

The financial police report reminds the production report: 68 expert evaluations were carried out, over 750 people interrogated, 79 searches performed, over 30 thousand documents withdrawn.

In actual fact the only figure that matters is the damage caused to the state and taxpayers. And the figure is shocking – 71 billion tenge (473 million US dollars).

In the absolute measurement the sum of embezzlement is not a record. Sums even bigger than used to be stolen. However, if to compare to scales of financial flows, there was hardly such a case anywhere else. As a comparison, the total budget amount of the Atyrau Oblast for 2013 is estimated at 121 billion tenge. In other words, the amount of embezzlement of public funds reached 60% of the annual budget! Where else have you heard about such sums stolen? 

And these funds were not taken out in the form of gold ingots from secret storages. All of them were plundered through usual procedures: tenders, contracts, payment orders.

Therefore, now there are two issues on the agenda - how to recover the damage and how to prevent such cases in future.

The financial police reported 23.4 billion tenge have already been returned to state in the form of property. The property amounting to another 39 billion tenge was arrested. Though the asset is not money, nevertheless, it would partly compensate the damage inflicted to state. And, there is another 8.6 billion tenge left that should be returned to the state.

It would probably be impossible to fully recover the damage, since the former governor of Atyrau Oblast Bergei Ryskaliyev under unknown circumstances managed to escape abroad together with his brother Amanzhan Ryskali, the ex-deputy of parliament and member of Akzhol party. Moreover, there are 10 more accomplices that are internationally wanted.

If the verdict brought against them is guilty, and the state will sell all confiscated property, then it’ll have the chances to completely recover the loss to the budget.

But what needs to be done to prevent such violations from repetition? The government reacted to corruption mega scandal in Atyrau with political moves and reshuffles in the high echelons of power. We also witnessed the legal reaction in the form of criminal cases initiated by financial police.

However, from financial-administrative point of view nothing has been done to prevent further embezzlement of public funds - both in Atyrau and in other regions.

Ryskaliev's case denuded the defects of several key state mechanisms. Firstly, the system of financial control and budget management failed. The second failure was the system of government purchases. The third failure was the local administration system, when the governor controls everything and everybody, but nobody controls the executive power.

The fourth failure was the state service management system. What selection system one should apply to get all the crooks to occupy all top local government positions!

Fifthly, the system of prevention of corruption violations failed, though we have a specialized department - the financial police of Atyrau to be responsible for that. The question arises: on what, the heck, they were spending the state funds, if they overlooked embezzled 71 billion?

The government, in fact, ignored all these flaws. Therefore, there is no guarantee that such crimes with stealing of state funds will not repeat again.

April 26 2013, 18:31

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