Who Is behind the Vice Ministers’ Acquittal

On October 22, 2021, the Baykonyr District Court of the Kazakh capital reached a verdict on the case of ex-vice ministers of energy Bakytzhan Dzhaksaliyev and Gani Sadibekov. Just like the other accused of the crime, they have been completely exonerated.   

The official press-release of the Baykonyr District Court 2 explains why. Here is a quote from the document (text in bold by KZ.expert).

“The court has found

Earlier, on July 2, 2020, the court returned the case materials to the prosecutor in order to eliminate some significant violations of the criminal/procedural law. The necessity to determine the size of the damages served as the foundation for it.

The case was sent back to the court on June 9, 2021, and it was examined based on the arguments presented by the prosecution and the defence.

The results of the examination

1. The damages amounting to 2.7 bln tenge have found unjustified.

The inspections that allegedly determined the size of the damages were conducted with crude violations of the law.

During the initial inspection the procedure was violated, an equipment with an expired time-limit used.

The forensic licence of the specialist conducting the inspection has been revoked due to the major violation of the law.

The second inspection was performed by private specialists when the case was returned to the prosecutor despite the fact that the law strictly prohibits collecting additional evidence of guilt if a case is returned to the prosecutor. Apart from that, the private specialists did not examine the construction sites, the as-built and cost-estimating documents.

2. The testimony of the defendants related to completing the work on removing the silts and the other project operations have been confirmed by the audit documents, the agreements with the subcontractor organisations, the testimonies of the subcontractors, the expert determination. The prosecution has offered no proof to rebut these data.

3. The project to clean and sanitise the lake was developed with significant errors. It did not specify exactly how much silt there was in the lake; errors had been made when revising the part of the project related to the cost-estimating documents.

4. The investigation did not determine the mechanism of embezzling the monetary funds, to what accounts they had been moved and in what way they had been spent. Neither have it found out where the money is if it has indeed been stolen.

5. The unofficial investigative measures mentioned by the prosecutor were conducted in relation to another severed case. Apart from that, these actions had been performed over a significant period of time. The court has deemed this evidence inadmissible.

6. The investigation of the case (related to abuse of authorities) began back in 2016. Then, that same year, the investigators closed the case due to the absence of the event of a crime.

Under the law, the court is not a criminal authority and renders decisions based on the evidence presented by the prosecution and the defence.

On the basis of the foregoing, the court finds Dzhaksaliyev, Sadibekov, Nurbekov, Duanbek, Kadirberlin, Zhumalinov, Zharkenov, Garifolla not guilty and releases them due to the absence in their actions of the event of a crime”.

We at KZ.expert believe that such verdict was to be expected. The only thing that surprises us in this story is that it was reached with such big a delay.

You will recall that we commented on this case almost two years ago in the article “Sadibekov’s Case and Shpekbayev’s Problems”

We got interested in the case because the criminal investigation of the two former vice ministers was directly linked to the conflict between the then head of the Anti-Corruption Agency Alik Shpekbayev and his opponents in the halls of power.

This year, Shpekbayev has suffered defeat in this conflict and was fired from his high position. Therefore, the question of Dzhaksaliyev and Sadibelov’s acquittal was only that of time. 

Recall that this was the outcome we predicted.

On the other hand, according to our insiders, the case against the vice ministers was not as unfounded as the Baykonyr District Court’s press-release would have you believe. Although they did have a trump card on their hands. Here is a quote from our article “Sadibekov’s Case and Shpekbayev’s Problems”.

“In the meantime, according to our insiders, the case of Gani Sadibekov does not look as unfounded as he is trying to paint in his interview. And a billion tenge in cash really did exist. But now it is not as crucially important since his benefactors have, de-facto, been able to defend him. And this, in our opinion, is quite remarkable since it shows that the Anti-Corruption Agency and its head Alik Shpekbayev are suffering a clear defeat in the confrontation with their opponents.

The extra-scandalous case of Deputy Governor of the Almaty Region Bagdat Manzorov was the first among these big defeats; Gani Sadibekov’s case is the second.

What is indicative: it looks like, in both cases, Bolat Nazarbayev, the First President’s brother, was the behind-the-scenes opponent of the Kazakh law-enforcers. At least, our sources state is quite certainly.

According to our insiders, Gani Sadibekov’s brother, entrepreneur Galym Sadibekov served as the key figure — intermediary — in this matter. The thing is that he is quite close to another local entrepreneur Edgar Salduzi known acrossthe country for his conflict with Mayra Kurmangaliyeva, the most notorious one among Bolat Nazarbayev’s wives”.

Now then, immediately after the accused were released by the Baykonyr District Court 2 of Nur-Sultan, talks began that it was Bolat Nazarbayev that had played the crucial part in the events. And that he did so not out the goodness of his heart but for a large amount of the US dollars. So large, in fact, that it had as many as six zeros in it.

Since no one (neither we nor the relevant authorities) can verify this information, everyone is free to decide for themselves whether or not the rumours could be trusted.

Thus, this high-profile story has come or is coming to an end. Hypothetically, of course, there is a chance that the prosecution will appeal the verdict. However, something tells us that it is not going to happen. On the other hand, in Kazakhstan, anything is possible.

But if the unexpected does happen, we believe the materials of the unofficial investigative measures may become the prosecutions’ strongest argument.  

Here is what Gani Sadibekov said about them in his interview to the reporters.

“The case documents contain hundreds of hours of talks recorded as part of the unofficial investigative measures (UIM). I listened to them for eight months when we got access to the criminal case materials. (…) At the same time, the UIM has no recording of conversations where we would discuss the means of the embezzlement or the division of the money”.  

Obviously, we would be keen to learn what was said during these hundreds of hours of talks especially since the lake whose cleaning served as the reason for the opening of this high-profile criminal case and then for the trial is located next to the residence of the First President of the Republic of Kazakhstan. And the cleaning operation was attempted for this reason only, not because the authorities had suddenly become concerned about the problem of excessive silt in the body of water experienced by the local folks.


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