Turkmenistan leader purges cabinet for corruption, slow reform

Turkmenistan leader purges cabinet for corruption, slow reform

ASHGABAT - Reuters
Turkmenistan leader purges cabinet for corruption, slow reform

Reuters Photo

Turkmenistan's leader Kurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has sacked several senior government officials, citing pervasive corruption and slow reforms in key sectors of the economy, state television reported on July 10.

Berdymukhamedov, a 58-year-old former-dentist who became president in late 2006, sacked Deputy Prime Minister Annamukhamed Gochyev "for serious drawbacks in his work" just after the latter reported to a government meeting on continued growth in the gas-fuelled economy. 

The meeting was held on July 9, the state-controlled Altyn Asyr (Golden Age) channel said. 

Berdymukhamedov, a tough leader with a personality cult in his Central Asian nation of 5.5 million, said "cases of bribery are not infrequent" in the economic and finance sector run by Gochyev. 

"In the latest period, 80 banking, tax and financial services workers have been charged with committing various crimes, according to the leader of the nation," the news presenter said. 

Berdymukhamedov, who wields sweeping powers and brooks no dissent, lambasted his cabinet for the slow development of the banking sector and the securities market. 

He said key ministries had failed to assess the impact of the global crisis on Turkmenistan's economy. "All this leads to big losses for the state," he was shown saying. 

He also fired the country's economy and development minister, a deputy prime minister in charge of agriculture and the construction minister. 

The highly reclusive state holds the world's fourth-largest reserves of natural gas, exports of which have fuelled rapid economic growth. 

Just minutes before his sacking, Gochyev said growth in gross domestic product had slowed to 9.1 percent in the first half of 2015 from 10.3 percent in the same period of last year. 

The International Monetary Fund expects Turkmenistan's economic growth to decelerate to 9.0 percent this year from 10.3 percent in 2014 on the back of declining natural gas export revenues and lower public investment as a share of GDP.