A notorious high-ranking customs official in Kyrgyzstan has been fired in a dramatic personnel reshuffle that comes weeks after Kazakhstan complained about the volume of contraband goods flooding in from its southern neighbor.
Prime Minister Sapar Isakov signed the order to dismiss Customs Service deputy chairman Rayimbek Matraimov on November 23, noting that the official’s action did not comply with government policies.
Matraimov, who is known popularly (and tellingly) by his nickname “Rayim Million,” has long wielded substantial influence in the south of the country, which is a conduit for vast amounts of imported wares arriving from China.
From 2005 to 2015, he held multiple positions in Customs Service’s southern offices. Over the course of his career, he repeatedly faced accusations of corruption, including from members of parliament.
Matraimov’s life in customs began in the mid-1990s, when he worked as a driver for the former deputy head of the service, Muratbek Malabayev. From there, he quickly made his way up the greasy pole.
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