Ikbol Nematullo, the former head of the education department of the Rudaki district, who was detained at his workplace on charges of bribery and abuse of office, was released from the courtroom after paying only 3,000 somoni more than the total amount of money he received as a bribe.
In March of this year, Tajik law enforcers reported that over several months of work, Nematullo received more than 65 thousand somoni as a bribe from 36 directors of schools in the Rudaki district.
Sources of Radio Ozodi in the judiciary reported on August 4 that the court fined Ikbol Nematullo 1,000 calculation indexes (68,000 somoni) and deprived him of the right to work in the field of education for a period of 5 years.
Now, according to our interlocutors, Nematullo is at large. Our attempts to contact him were unsuccessful.
And therefore, it was not possible to find out the opinion of the convict himself regarding the verdict passed against him, although the Rudaki district court said that Ikbol Nematullo did not object when the verdict was announced and did not appeal the verdict of the court.
He was found guilty of abuse of office (art. 314, part 2 of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Tajikistan). According to this norm of the law, punishment is provided in the form of a fine in the amount of 547 to 1092 calculated indicators (one indicator – 68 somoni) or imprisonment for a term of three to six years.
After Iqbol Nematullo’s arrest, state television aired a story in which he confesses to personally taking money from school directors on several occasions to “conduct appraisals” or signing appointments to school principals in exchange for money.
Iqbol Nematullo, 32, was appointed head of the education department in October 2022, and managed to work in this position for four months. Previously, he worked at a school for some time, before being appointed to the position of a district manager, he worked as a driver in the Favz company.
This circumstance caused a loud dispute on social networks about how a driver, with little teaching experience in the past, was appointed to the position of the head of the district in one of the largest regions of Tajikistan.
The Radio Ozodi correspondent asked this question to the Minister of Education of Tajikistan, Rakhim Saidzoda, at a press conference on August 1. The minister then replied that “all the appointment procedures were followed, we invited him, conducted an interview, and, having familiarized ourselves with his work, we appointed him to the position.”
The Minister of Education did not explain what requirements were met when appointing Nematullo to the post of head of the district department of education, if, according to the regulations, for appointment to such a position, a teacher must have at least ten years of teaching experience – experience that Ikbol Nematullo did not have.
The Rudaki district court said that the verdict passed against the former head of the district fully complies with the current legislation.
According to lawyer Shukhrat Kudratov, “such a sentence is unfair, because in reality, if decisions are made to deprive ordinary citizens of liberty for a period of 5 years or more for the same crime, then light punishments are imposed on officials and civil servants. Because they have their own person behind their back, a “roof”.
The detention of the head of the district for a bribe caused a heated discussion on social networks about the appointment of people unsuitable for this, who do not meet the requirements, to public positions.
Some users were concerned about the increased cases of nepotism in appointments to bureaucratic positions, others about the unfavorable situation in the field of education. User Abdusamad Razzokov emotionally commented on the news of the arrest of Ikbol Nematullo on Facebook, noting: “This is why the education sector in Tajikistan is becoming more and more paralyzed every year.”
Cases where people who absolutely do not meet the criteria are somehow appointed to public positions, including in the field of education, have become public knowledge more than once. But, despite the fact that expert circles are concerned about the factors of corruption and nepotism in personnel appointments, officials of the country’s education system always emphasize that in this area the priority is given to the level of knowledge and professionalism.
Source : Радио Озоди