NSM staff force customs officers to cover up smuggling

Since 13 July law enforcement officers and staff of regulatory bodies in Lebap velayat have been in opposition. One side is represented by Customs officers, members of the public health authority and Turkmenstandard service, whereas the other side is represented by the regional office of the National Security Ministry (NSM) and the public prosecutor's office.

One of the regulatory bodies informed a correspondent of Chronicles of Turkmenistan that on that day employees of the Customs office and the State Standard Service detained four containers with smuggled goods, including stationery, school supplies and school uniforms.

The staff and regional executives, who detained the container, obeyed the order issued by the President pursuant to which only domestic school supplies should be sold on the Turkmen market.

When crossing the border merchandise must be properly documented and the sender must pay a customs fee, after which the supervisory service issues permits for the import and sale of the merchandise.

The NSM officers, according to a Customs officer, regularly abuse power to import smuggled goods and document them as domestically produced and sell them on the domestic market via affiliated companies.

All this time employees of the NSM regional office have been exerting serious pressure, including intimidation and threats, on the staff of agencies which had detained the containers. They seek to ensure that the goods be documented as legally imported.

On 6 August the aforementioned agencies, as well as the internal revenue authority, contacted the velayat's prosecutor to urge the public prosecutor's office to find out whether the containers legitimately entered Turkmenistan and who are their real owners in Turkmenistan.

However, the velayat's prosecutor has not responded to the application and in fact is covering up the illegal actions of the NSM.

A representative of the state control agency said that they had contacted higher-ranking agencies in Ashgabat and decided to send a report summarizing the latest developments to Chronicles of Turkmenistan.

According to him, the detained containers are being kept at warehouses located near the residential district Zheleznodorozhniki (railroad men) in Turkmenabad. The warehouses are owned by a family member of a senior executive of the velayat's office of the NSM.

Regrettably, the editorial office of Chronicles of Turkmenistan is unable to obtain the viewpoint of the second side.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan