Not so long ago, the leadership of Kazakhstan offered the people a new concept called “New Kazakhstan”.
The main difference between the “New Kazakhstan” and the “Old” one is in an open dialogue with society, increasing the transparency of public administration and ensuring social justice, including through an honest redistribution of the country’s wealth in favour of the people.
In the “old” Kazakhstan, there were frankly problems with this.
In 2019, according to official information, only 162 people fully controlled half of the wealth of this Central Asian country. Most of this wealth at that time was located offshore in Geneva, London, New York, Paris and other global financial centres.
President of Kazakhstan Kassym-Jomart Tokayev instructed the government to develop a plan for the return of these assets as soon as possible.
At that time, according to various estimates, including according to the international human rights organization “Tax justice network”, the amount of capital withdrawn from Kazakhstan reached $ 160 billion.
Yes, that’s how much was illegally taken out of the country over 25 years.
To recover this money, Kazakhstan promptly assembled a special commission on the return of capital from abroad and strengthening measures to counter the outflow of funds from the country. Its representatives immediately started actively working on it.
In only 6 months of 2022, according to official data, about $ 1.5 billion was returned to Kazakhstan. Also, 398 thousand hectares of land worth over $ 15 million were returned, as well as more than 600 acres of railway tracks, which made it possible to reduce tariffs.
In general, Kazakhstan plans to use the returned assets to finance projects aimed at improving the welfare of the people. Now there is an active discussion in society about how and where to spend this money.
Meanwhile, the commission for the return of illegally withdrawn funds is right now at the epicentre of an international confrontation over another important asset – the resources of the Kazakh second-tier bank “Jusan”, which its shareholders and former management are trying to withdraw to foreign jurisdictions.
The paradox is that this bank still exists thanks only to state financial support in the form of millions of dollars owned by Kazakhstani taxpayers.
Realizing that the bankruptcy of banks can cause social tension, the Kazakh authorities in recent years have periodically provided support to weak financial institutions, including “Jusan” bank.
Since 2017, more than $11.5 billion has been spent on supporting second-tier banks in Kazakhstan. Of these, more than $3 billion was received by “Jusan”. On these grounds, the authorities of Kazakhstan, it seems, are very reasonably arguing for these resources.
The story of this bank is just one episode of a large campaign for the return of funds, which the authorities of Kazakhstan intend to further pursue. Corruption and social injustice have long undermined democratic foundations in Kazakhstan, destroyed public trust in institutions, created unequal conditions for doing business, and led to economic problems.
As the Kazakh authorities rightly expect, the return of illegally withdrawn funds and the fight against corruption at all levels will allow the country to improve its international image, attract new foreign investment and increase economic stability.
All these are natural consequences of such transformations. But here it is important to understand that this story in the end is not only and not even so much about money.
The struggle of President K.Tokayev for the return of the stolen wealth of the country is a manifestation of courageous political will and a serious signal, external and internal. The country shows its international partners that it is truly committed to the fight against corruption, openness and transparency. Within the country, the President of Kazakhstan makes it clear to the state and business elite that he puts the ideas of social justice for the population above any personal interests.
For Kazakhstan, such a paradigm of public administration is an extremely unusual phenomenon. It was not accepted that way.
Kazakhstan shows an interesting and bold example, the foundation upon which a truly new and prosperous state can be built.
Source: EU Reporter