The punishments Kazakhstan is going to apply to officials for incorrect income data

The government is going to apply measures only in case of a serious gap between declared income and real expenses

Deputies of Mazhilis, the lower chamber of the country’s parliament, have approved a draft law that is going to punish those officials whose expenses were proven to be higher than the income they have officially declared. Once the draft law is approved, officials who enjoy a lavish lifestyle might be discharged from office.

The draft law is also going to introduce a system of control for income and expenses not only of high-ranking public servants but their spouses as well.

While deputies discussed the draft law, the head of the anti-corruption agency commented on the issue.

It’s not a secret what corrupted officials usually do to hide the fortunes they have made illegally. They just register their property with other individuals. As a result, it is very hard to prove that such property has been acquired by illegal means. However, if we see unreasonably high expenses that go beyond their official income, we have to take appropriate measures.

MARAT AKHMETZHANOV, HEAD OF THE ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY

It is expected that sanctions against officials would be applied only in serious cases. For instance, if the difference between officially declared income and expenses of an official is higher than $7,117, he or she might be obliged to pay 90% of that difference as a fine.

If the difference between the income and expenses of an official is more than the yearly salary the state pays him, that official must be dishonorably discharged from office. However, any official would be given a chance to explain the source of that extra revenue, Akhmetzhanov added.

One of the questions many deputies asked the official related to the reason the punishment is going to be applied for only serious differences between income and expenses.

This is an international best practice. We do not want to persecute an official because there is always the risk of wrong decisions. The requirements we have suggested are quite strong. In the future, this legislation is going to be further evolved and improved.

MARAT AKHMETZHANOV, HEAD OF THE ANTI-CORRUPTION AGENCY

The official highlighted that the draft law is aimed at only illegal income. If there is proof of a corruption-related crime, no fine or discharge would be enough. In this case, an official would face criminal prosecution.

It is planned that the new legislation may enter into force in 2027. This is a logical continuation of a new practice of income declaration that has become common since last year. At the very first stage, high-ranking officials have revealed their income: 440 officials have declared $1.6 billion in total they have in their bank accounts. In the second stage over 2023-2024, those who work in the state agencies or quasi-state sector have to declare their income as well. Over 2024-2025 this is going to be mandatory for heads and founders of companies and in 2025-2026 the income declaration is going to be binding for the rest of the citizens. The government also wants to improve legislation on fiscal control over money transfers and transactions officials and quasi-state sector representatives might be involved in.

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