A ‘bell’ to tackle corruption

A ‘bell’ to tackle corruption - Central Asia News Afghanistan Kazakhstan Kyrgyzstan Uzbekistan Tajikistan Turkmenistan-Sports Business and Entertainment

Tair Shamshiev

2008-10-16

BISHKEK, Oct. 10—A special programme christened Kolokol [Bell], has been launched by the Kyrgyz Ministry of Economic Development and Trade to clean up the business environment in the country.

The programme is designed to cut the number of unwarranted or harassing “official” checks and inspections carried out by authorities, and to raise awareness of the legal rights of businessmen. One of its main goals is to tackle government corruption with support from USAID.

“The Kolokol programme will register complaints from businesspeople, which will be dealt with by a special group including ministry officials, trade and business associations, and a film crew,” the minister of economic development and trade, Akylbek Zhaparov said. “At the moment, some state monitoring agencies are not complying with legislation related to the proper procedures for performing checks and inspections.”

According to figures released by the ministry, in 2007 the authorities made a total of 47,400 compliance checks, four percent lower than the figure for 2006. Data from independent business sources, however, indicate that the number of cases of illegal checks has almost doubled since 2006.

A mobile anti-corruption force will be used to enforce the programme. Once a call has been received from a businessperson, a mobile unit, armed with a video camera, will respond. All the activities of officials involved will be filmed, and then broadcast on national TV. Each mobile unit will consist of representatives of the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade, the prosecutor’s office, the media, and businessmen themselves.

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