Law of 6 October 2020 No. 365-IV “On Amendments and Additions to Certain Legal Acts of the Republic of Kazakhstan on Countering Corruption” provides for the following major innovations:
1) Officials, politically exposed persons and members of their families (spouses, parents, children, including those of legal age, and dependants permanently residing in the same household) are prohibited from accepting financial remuneration, gifts or services.
Before that, officials were allowed to accept gifts in relation to their official duties valued at no more than ten monthly calculation indices (MCI; roughly 65 USD). From now on, any gifts given to public officials or members of their families
- for acting (refraining from acting) in favour of the offerror, if such actions are part of the official duties of the aforementioned individuals or they facilitate them;
- are delivered without their knowledge;
- are delivered (given) in the course of a social event
are considered owned by the State and must be handed over to the authority competent in public property (except for the gifts that are received for professional achievements or other merits). If desired, the gift may be further bought back from the respective body at a price, defined in accordance with the Law “On Assessment Activities in the Republic of Kazakhstan”.
It is specified that members of the family of a public official cannot accept invitations to touristic, medical/health or other trips whose expenses are covered by natural or legal persons to whom the public official is professionally related.
It should be highlighted that the ban on gifts was actually in place before that. In particular, according to article 367 of the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan the gift valued at more than 2 MCI is considered as a bribe and entails criminal liability. Otherwise (if the value of the gift is inferior to that index), as stipulated in articles 676 and 678 of the Code of Administrative Offences, illicit financial remuneration provided to individuals empowered to fulfill public functions, or their equals triggers administrative liability.
2) The restrictions on recruitment of relatives in public service are overhauled:
- firstly, the respective ban is now imposed not only on spouses and close relatives but also on relatives-in-law, including siblings and half siblings, parents and children of the spouse,
- secondly, not only relatives, spouses and relatives-in-law are prohibited from having a subordinate relationship with an official, as was previously the case, but the official is prohibited from having a superior relationship with their relatives and relatives-in-law.
3) The obligation to report facts of corruption to a superior and/or to the administration of the body and/or to competent public bodies is imposed. Before that, the respective information was to be communicated to the administration of the body/entity and/or to law enforcement bodies, as prescribed by the law.
4) In the quasi-public sector, the list of individuals subject to the bans, restrictions and obligations provided for by the Law “On Countering Corruption”, is extended: besides the chief executives of State-owned enterprises, it now includes the individuals vested with decision-making functions to organise and conduct procurement process, also in the public sector, or responsible for selecting and implementing projects which are publicly funded or financed by the National Fund of the Republic of Kazakhstan and holding a position not inferior to the head of an independent structural unit.
5) Subjects of the quasi-public sector are obliged to establish structural units functioning as anti-corruption compliance services and monitoring the implementation of anti-corruption legislation by the entity and its employees. Other entities of the private sector, which are not owned by the State, are entitled to establish anti-corruption compliance services.
6) Article 412-1 on incitement - illegal actions of an official who conducts investigative activities or pre-trial investigation inciting an individual to commit a crime with a view to eventually incriminate and prosecute or blackmail him/her - is included in the Criminal Code of Kazakhstan. The commitment of the aforementioned actions is punished by a sentence of imprisonment from three to five years and deprivation of the right to hold certain positions and engage in certain activities for a term not exceeding seven years.
It should be noted that this is already the ninth set of amendments since the anti-corruption law was adopted in 2015 (the previous amendments, which we have covered, date back to November 2019).