Tajikistan: State-Supported Corruption Rampant Despite Recent Arrest

A close adviser to Tajik President Emomali Rahmon has been arrested on charges of graft and corruption, according to Tajik media. Hasan Rajabov, one of the president’s advisers on “personal” affairs, now faces a lengthy prison term for “bribery and embezzlement,” among other crimes. The arrest marks the latest in a series of high profile corruption-related detentions made following the appointment of Emomali’s 27-year-old son Rustam Emomali, as the head of the state’s anti-corruption and financial crime apparatus.

There is some speculation that the arrest could stem from the Rahmon family’s desire to control and thereby ensure that they are the primary beneficiaries of the Tajik corruption apparatus. The effort to curb corruption in Tajikistan has been decried by US and other Western diplomats as an inconsistent sham operation whose managers, senior Tajik government officials, were often “the most corrupt,” with arrests made to fulfill political and personal aims. For instance, a Tajik official on a state-run religious committee was detained and publicly decried by state media for soliciting bribes from Tajiks eager to go on the hajj.

Nepotism, self-evident in the case of Rustam Emomali, has never been punished, even as the Rahmon family continues to consolidate its control of the country’s main industries.

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