The detentions were made as part of an investigation into possible abuse of office in relation to the flow of goods at outposts along the Kazakh-Chinese border. (file photo)
NUR-SULTAN -- The former chief of Kazakhstan's Border Guard Service, Lieutenant General Darkhan Dilmanov, and several of his former subordinates have been detained on corruption charges.
The Committee of National Security (KNB) said on June 22 that the moves were made as part of an investigation into possible abuse of office while supervising the flow of goods at outposts along the Kazakh-Chinese border.
Dilmanov, who was also the KNB's deputy chief, was sacked from his post in April, days before the Prosecutor-General's Office said a transportation company co-founded by the sister of former President Nursultan Nazarbaev was suspected of committing "numerous crimes" with regard to the transportation of goods via the Kazakh-Chinese border.
The Anti-Corruption Agency said at the time that it also fired Erbol Nazarbaev, one of the former president's nephews. President Qasym-Zhomart Toqaev has been distancing himself from Nazarbaev and his clan after they left the tightly controlled oil-rich nation's political scene following unprecedented deadly antigovernment protests in January, after which the KNB chief and one of Nazarbaev's closest allies, Karim Masimov, and his three deputies were arrested on high treason charges.
Nazarbaev, 81, resigned as president in 2019, picking longtime ally Toqaev as his successor. But he retained sweeping powers as the head of the Security Council, enjoying almost limitless powers as elbasy -- the leader of the nation. Meanwhile, many of his relatives continued to hold important posts in the government, security agencies, and profitable energy groups.
On June 6, a Toqaev-initiated nationwide referendum changed the constitution, removing all mentions of Nazarbaev from it. The January protests, which started over a fuel price hike, spread across Kazakhstan because of discontent over cronyism that had long plagued the country. Toqaev subsequently stripped Nazarbaev of the Security Council role, taking it over himself. Just days after the protests, Nazarbaev's two sons-in-law, Qairat Sharipbaev and Dimash Dosanov, were pushed out of top jobs at two major state companies, QazaqGaz and KazTransOil, respectively. Timur Kulibaev, Nazarbaev's billionaire son-in-law, also resigned as chairman of the oil-rich nation's main business lobby group. In a separate statement, on June 22, a KNB official said Nazarbaev’s nephew, Samat Abish, who was sacked from the post of KNB’s deputy chief after the January protests, is a person of interest in an unspecified criminal case. A day earlier, Kazakh authorities said a criminal case on the illegal takeover of a private company may be launched against the former president’s fugitive younger brother, Bolat Nazarbaev. Toqaev has said publicly he wants Nazarbaev's associates to share their wealth with the public by making regular donations to a new charity foundation.