Prime Minister wants the cabinet to decrease pressure on business

Senior business correspondent

Prime Minister of Kazakhstan Alikhan Smailov has asked the Ministry of Justice to think what measures can be done to amend the Criminal Code and decrease the number of reasons for law enforcement to go after entrepreneurs.

«We have to revise the Criminal Code in order to lift all excessive and unjustified prescriptions that can be used as a reason for launching criminal cases against businesses. The Ministry of Justice has already received an order to strengthen work in this direction and execute a comprehensive approach to the issue,» Smailov said during the cabinet’s meeting devoted to the economic policy.

Highly effective measures can give fast results. We need such measures, the prime minister highlighted.

According to the National Chamber of Entrepreneurs Atameken, more than a fourth of criminal cases opened against businesses in Kazakhstan have no real justification. At the same time, the country’s criminal system doesn’t protect entrepreneurs from unjustified registration of criminal cases, arrests and police searches that paralyze their businesses.

On January 9, 2022, the Ministry of Justice published its draft project of amendments to criminal legislation. This document suggests prohibiting the opening of criminal cases against founders and employees of a company with the help of criminal articles on organized criminal groups.

«This is inappropriate when those who break economic rules are considered by the law enforcement system as members of an organized criminal group. The only features a company and a criminal group can share is a hierarchy and clear structure of their divisions,» the draft law says.

In addition, the Atameken chamber suggested cutting the period when an entrepreneur can apply for cancellation of a criminal record from one year to six months. The chamber believes that the move will let entrepreneurs with a criminal record recover faster from the negative experience and once again be active actors in the social and political life of the country.

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