Tajikistan Jails Anti-Narcotics Agency Official On Fraud Charges

A high-ranking official in Tajikistan’s state anti-narcotics agency has been arrested on high-value fraud charges.

Saifiddin Barotzoda is accused of abusing office to commit fraud to gain a substantial amount of money, the state-run Khovar news agency reported on August 20, citing the State Committee For National Security. It didn’t provide further details.

If found guilty, Barotzoda, a department head at the agency, could face up to 12 years in prison.

RFE/RL hasn’t been able to contact Barotzoda’s lawyers.

Corruption is widespread in the Central Asian nation that ranks 153 out of 198 countries in the 2019 Corruption Perception Index by graft watchdog Transparency International.

Several officers from the anti-narcotics agency have been convicted of bribery and the extortion of large sums of money from suspected drug dealers in exchange for turning a blind eye to their crimes.