13 March 2014. For the first time Turkmenistan parliament on 3 March 2014 passed an anti-corruption law that prohibits public serve personal from being agents of foreign business interests, from opening bank accounts in foreign countries to accept bribes and kickbacks.
Civil Service personnel are also barred from receiving honorary titles awards and other distinctions from foreign governments. This sounds ridiculous as one cannot see any corruption in this although this will bring some unhappiness to corrupt politicians.
Civil Service personnel are also required to furnish details of their and their family income, expenses and wealth.
The government said that the reduction of opportunities for corruption will improve enterprise development. Example of some Central Bank employees in 2011 was given to support its reasons for this law.
Anyone who reads this will know that these civil servants are only small fries on fringe and the main culprits are the ministers and senior politicians. If the government is serious about abolishing corruption, it should extend these laws to the parliamentarians and other top politicians.
If the top level corruption is wiped out, middle and lower level corruption will go away on its own.
Turkmenistan ranked 170 out of 176 countries in the Corruption Perceptions Index for the year 2012 released by Transparency International. According to Wiki leaks, one daughter of the President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow used to live in London where her husband worked as a representative of the state-run agency for the use and management of hydrocarbon resources. Subsequently the London office was closed and the president’s daughter and her husband were recalled back to Turkmenistan because the president’s son-in-law had ‘purchased far too much real estate there’.
There is lot of corruption going on in Turkmenistan but very little information gets to the outside world. Only information on bribery for traffic offenses crosses the borders of Turkmenistan. Drunk driving will cost $ 150 to 220, beating red light $ 50 and speeding ticket for as little as $ 5 – 20. This is low level corruption alright. But the cancer that is spreading the country like a wild fire is the high level corruption. Very little information comes to public knowledge but Transparency International’s index speaks for itself.
If Turkmenistan does not act resolutely now there is possibility that it will turn out to be another Ukraine.