30 Percent of Regional Chiefs Implicated in Corruption: Ministry Spokesman
More than a third of the 470 regional heads voted into office since 2004 have been implicated in corruption cases, the government revealed on Monday.
Reydonnyzar Moenek, a spokesman for the Home Affairs Ministry, said 37 percent of the regional heads, or 174 officials, had been named witnesses or suspects in various graft cases.
“Seventy percent of them have been convicted in court and removed from office,” he said.
Reydonnyzar blamed the high rate of corruption among regional leaders on their wide and often non-political backgrounds — people entering elected office from such backgrounds generally understood very little about the bureaucracy, including regional finances, the Ministry spokesman said.
Reydonnyzar said that such misunderstandings often inadvertently led officials to carry out procedural violations that prompted graft charges, “when in fact they never meant to commit corruption.”
In addition, Reydonnyzar said the appointment of incompetent or genuinely corrupt officials to important posts by the regional heads in exchange for helping in their campaigns also led, in an indirect manner, to the regional heads involvement in graft.
And some regional heads openly and knowingly engaged in corruption and regularly embezzled funds from local coffers to pay back campaign contributions, Reydonnyzar added.
Reydonnyzar said the ministry appreciated the work by law enforcement officers to crack down on corrupt officials and help clean up the bureaucracy.
“We hope they continue to go after these corrupt officials all over the country, obviously in a fair and just manner,” the spokesman said.
The ministry notes that regional heads are not the only problem. Since 2004, the ministry has granted permission for police to question nearly 3,000 regional legislators in a variety of cases. A third of the 2,976 cases center on graft, but others involve assault, fraud, sexual abuse and murder.