More than 20 held on charges of receiving unlawful payments
By Ruslan Isayev
GROZNY, Chechnya – More than twenty people are being held at a remand prison in the city of Grozny under investigation on charges of fraud concerning compensation payments and obtaining money under false pretences. Almost half of them are women.
Many of the defendants say that material hardship in the absence of normal and stable earnings drove them to deceive the state. They obtained payments for non-existent properties by means of forged documents, and some have insisted that they are innocent and were simply set up.
Among the prisoners there was even an 83-year old woman who had also received unlawful compensation. She was released on bail on the orders of President Kadyrov, who visited the remand centre a few days ago.
Chechnya is at present living in anticipation of a resumption of the compensation payments which were suspended more than a year ago. It is rumoured that the funds to compensate 20,000 applicants have already arrived from Moscow and that payments may resume this month. However, no official information from the authorities about this has appeared in the media. According to a source close to the compensation commission, after these 20,000 claimants are paid the question of compensation will be closed indefinitely.
For their part, the authorities have said that they will take action against those who are trying to make proft from the payments, whether it be ordinary citizens or government officials. However, there is little hope of this, because the interests of these people are the subject of lobbying at the highest level. Even so, the Chechen prosecutor's office says that 17 local village administration heads have been sentenced to various terms of imprisonment for forgery and fraud in the sphere of economic crime, including the unlawful receipt of compensation.
(D) RELATED ARTICLES:
· Compensation payments to Chechen citizens: problems still not solved