Traffic police of Turkmenistan extort bribes from small entrepreneurs

Corruption among traffic police officers is becoming a serious obstacle to the activities of small and medium-sized businesses in the country.

The Chronicles of Turkmenistan correspondents were able to talk with several businessmen suffering from constant police bribes.

A resident of the city of Bairam-al of the Mary velayat, engaged in the resale of goods and products of local production, says:

- I drive between Ahal, Mary and Lebap. In the season, from April to winter, we carry greens and fruit from Bayram-Ali to Turkmenabad, where we sell them at the bazaar in the 1st microdistrict. From winter to spring, we drive trucks along the etraps of the Lebap velayat, buying window frames and doors, chests, cuttings for shovels, cauldrons, ceramic dishes and other household utensils from local craftsmen. We sell this already in our region and in the Ahal velayat.

When leaving Bairam-Ali, the staff of road surveillance require 20-25 manat from each car. At the entrance to Lebap welayat, local policemen charge us at least 50 manats. But if from Bairam-ali to the border of Lebap velayat there are two traffic control posts at the 69th and 49th level crossings, then in the sands of Lebap we are waiting at 7 mobile posts. And all require a bribe. Yes, they strive to pick up something from the transported goods. Already on the territory of the bazaar in the 1st microdistrict, the police demand to pay 100 manat per day, otherwise threatening with arrest of property and a fine for trading without permission. In general, for one trip from Bairam-Ali to Turkmenabad only for bribes to the police, we spend 1,200�1,300 manat each. But there is still the cost of gasoline, food. Yes, and we earn a little.

Another entrepreneur, a resident of the city of Mary, confirmed this information and also spoke about similar problems:

- In the season I buy tomatoes and watermelons in my region, and melons in Tedzhen, and I bring all this to Lebap for sale. In the winter I drive a pumpkin. On the way from Tedzhen to Lebap, a total of 2,500-3,000 manat are spent on bribes by car inspectors. No policeman takes less than 50 manats. And it also takes 4-5, and even more, watermelons or melons. When we bring tomatoes, we preserve 30 boxes for them in advance. No other way.

I agree that the policemen of Lebap are especially lute. With your own somehow you can bargain, but not there. There were entrepreneurs who tried to complain, but they themselves suffered. All of them took a driver's license, in fact, depriving of work.

This winter, as in the previous ones, we bought household goods in Ashgabat and transported them to villages in Lebap. But now we were literally hunted by local police officers. They require 100 manats per car. In case of refusal, you, along with the car and the cargo, are delivered to the management of the road surveillance service.

The stories of these people were confirmed by several entrepreneurs. Some of them said that, having lost the ability to convert currency, they stopped doing business with foreign partners and hoped to earn money inside the country. But here, too, total corruption and police impunity prevent them.

For the sake of justice, it's necessary to add that drivers from Lebap, who are engaged in private carrying, also complain that when they travel to Mary or Ahal, the policemen fight with them much more than from local drivers.

Source: Chronicles of Turkmenistan