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New corruption charges against former Makhachkala mayor

23 August 2018
Kurban Kurbanov and Musa Musayev (midag.ru)

On Tuesday, Russia’s Deputy Prosecutor General, Ivan Sydoruk, approved the indictment of Musa Musayev, the former mayor of the Daghestani capital Makhachkala. Musayev was charged with illegally giving away land worth ₽48 million ($700,000). He was originally arrested for fraud of ₽80 million ($1.2 million).

The Prosecutor General’s Office said Musayev was accused of illegally signing resolutions to grant five plots of land to three people and two legal entities in 2016–2017, at a cost of more than ₽48 million ($700,000) in potential revenue to the state coffers.

Musayev was first arrested on 19 January on charges of exceeding his official authority by allocating 17,000 square metres of state land to a private company in 2016, at a cost to the budget of ₽80 million ($1.2 million) in potential revenue. On 21 January, he was detained for two months, then sent to a detention center in Essentuki when the case was transferred to the Main Directorate of the North Caucasus Investigative Committee.

‘Cooperating with the investigation’

According to Daghestani daily Chernovik, this land was sold to the company ASPK, which was then headed by Saidakhmed Kurbanov — the father of the Deputy Mayor of Makhachkala, Kurban Kurbanov, who oversees the construction sector.

Musayev’s lawyer, Suleyman Azuyev, told OC Media that he was dubious of the charge in this episode. He said he had confirmation from the Ministry of Property of Daghestan that the disputed plot of land was not public property. Azuyev noted that in this case, the mayor had the right to give away the land — especially because it was in a manufacturing zone.

According to Azuyev, four more criminal cases were then initiated against Musayev, and all were then combined into one investigation. The ‘ASPK plot’ is one of five land plots for which a charge was brought. Within the scope of the investigation, the damage assessment was re-examined and the total amount of damages for all five plots of land identified as ‘more than ₽48 million’. According to Azuyev, Musayev has pled guilty and agreed to cooperate with the investigation, and the court will be held accordingly.

Interests of a relative

On the day of Musayev’s arrest, searches related to the case were also conducted in the office of Deputy Mayor Kurban Kurbanov. On 25 July, Kurbanov was taken to the Investigation Department of the North Caucasus Federal District for questioning and the next day admitted to inciting Musayev to abuse his official powers.

According to the investigation, Kurbanov, in support of the interests of a relative, persuaded Musayev to sign a decree on granting the land plot to ASPK at a discounted price.

Kurbanov was later released on bail. According to Musayev’s lawyer, Azuyev, Kurbanov’s case will go forward in separate proceedings.

Crackdown on corruption

Since January 2018, several high-ranking Daghestani officials have been detained on the following corruption charges:

On 19 January, Mayor of Makhachkala Musa Musayev — for exceeding official authority by over ₽48 million ($965,000);

2 February, Magomedrasul Gitinov, the chief architect of Makhachkala — for fraud of ₽4 million ($80,000);

5 February, the acting prime minister of Daghestan, Abdusamad Gamidov, vice–prime ministers Shamil Isayev and Rayudin Yusufov, and the former minister of education of the republic, Shakhabas Shakhov — for fraud and theft of more than ₽100 million ($2 million);

2 March, the head of the Derbent District, Magomed Dzhelilov — for exceeding official authority by ₽2.2 million ($44,000);

5 June, Magomed Khizriyev, head of the Department of Internal Affairs of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Dagestan — for giving a bribe of $2 million;

4 July, Deputy Chairman of the Government of Daghestan Ramazan Aliyev — for fraud and embezzlement of more than ₽15 million ($300,000);

7 July, Tanka Ibragimov, former Minister of Health of Daghestan — for fraud and theft of ₽115 million ($2.3 million);

2 August, Head of the Main Bureau of Medico-Social Expertise for Daghestan Magomed Makhachev — for fraud, creation of a criminal community, and theft of more than ₽24 million ($480,000);

17 August, Director of the Territorial Fund of Mandatory Medical Insurance for Daghestan, Magomed Suleymanov — for creation of a criminal community, and theft of more than ₽210 million ($4.2 million).

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