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Ex-Governor’s Case. “Business Komek” Fund: putting squeeze on businesses

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By Zulfiya Bainekeeva

Azamat AbilgazinAzamat AbilgazinDuring court hearings one of the main witnesses of the block “Business Komek” State Fund for Support of Social Projects - the former fund director Azamat Abilgazin has been questioned.

Money for good cause!

The fund was officially established in 2006 by Bergey Ryskaliyev, ex-governor of the region. On papers the fund allegedly accumulated sponsor's funds for co-financing the construction of the bridge across the Ural River that connected Aliyev Street with Satybaldiyev Street. When the ‘bridge construction era’ was over, the money was squeezed out of businesses for a new plausible excuse – the construction of mosque in Almagul city distrct.

Former fund director Azamat Abilgazin stated to the court that the fund also did charity work. However, the lion's share of raised funds were transferred to the accounts of companies affiliated with Ryskaliyev.

Despite the fact that the fund was founded by regional construction department, in actual fact, it was administered by the ex-governor’s son-in-law -Rustem Albakasov, stated Abilgazin, although his name was not officially registered anywhere.

- This was voiced by the governor during the registration stage of the fund. He gave orders to implicitly obey to Albakasov.

He must have second sight

 Former Deputy Governor Askar Abdirov and former deputy head of state agency “Construction Management of Atyrau Oblast” Ibragim Amirov in the court. Former Deputy Governor Askar Abdirov and former deputy head of state agency “Construction Management of Atyrau Oblast” Ibragim Amirov in the court.In the court, as well as in his evidences given to the investigation bodies, Azamat Abilgazin constantly emphasized that it were former deputy governor Bolat Daukenov and Rustem Albakasov who managed the fund money and he obeyed instructions like a ‘soldier’.

In the archives of our newspaper we have an interesting comment to this disputable idea of introducing a fund for, so called, donations from businesses. In February 2007, our editorial office received a letter from a well-known ex-mayor of Atyrau, the businessman and, at that time, the oppositionist Zhalgas Tkenbaev. We then published his letter. The abstracts from that letter well enough illustrate the fund methods: “The regional government administration under the chairmanship of the first deputy governor Sarsenbai Ensegenov held a meeting with businessmen regarding social responsibility of businesses and started to raise money for the construction of a new bridge by establishing “Business Komek” Fund. At first glance it looks like a good cause, but if you start to analyze this action, then it reminds a racketeering of businessmen in the first years of the country’s independence, when cool and shaven-headed boys come to you and skillfully suggest to share profit, otherwise you will have problems, they said.

So, the first deputy governor of the region (by the way, Ensegenov was the former public prosecutor) unobtrusively suggested the businesses to share money, implicating that otherwise they will have problems.

Although, it wasn’t said openly, you could guess it by the dejected looks and sad eyes of businessmen. But the most shocking thing was when the head of Business Komek Fund, a certain Abilgazin, approached with already printed out contracts and right there, at the meeting, under the frown brows of the then first deputy governor started signing contracts with businessmen. Abilgazin didn’t go himself to businessmen, explaining the necessity of those contracts and asking for sponsorship, but acted via regional government. He was prepared there, on the spot, to complain that certain businesses don’t’want to sign the contract.

The Prosecutor’s office should give a legal assessment to the established Business Komek Fund.

Who will manage the collected funds? If the accumulated money is not enough, wouldn’t the regional government , exceeding their powers, force businesses to transfer more money? And who can guarantee that raised funds will be spent for those good causes declared by the regional government?”- reads the letter.

Tkenbayev must have had a second sight. Hundred millions of tenge, “squezzed out” by officials from businesses for a noble cause, eventually dropped in private accounts.

To recall, after our publication, Business Komek Fund filed a lawsuit against Tkenbayev and our newspaper, protecting their honor and dignity. They estimated the moral damage at 50mln tenge. But soon Abilgazin unexpectedly withdrew the claim.

Photos by Kanat Eleuov

April 8 2014, 12:00

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