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Criminal case launched over Derbent promenade ‘fraud’ in Daghestan

9 August 2018
Derbent promenade (/md-gazeta.ru)

Police launched a criminal case on Monday in Makhachkala against Magomed Magomedov, the former head of the state Management for the preparation and holding events dedicated to the 2,000th anniversary of Derbent. Magomedov is accused of overstating the amount of work done during the construction of Derbent’s promenade by more than ₽44 million ($670,000).

The criminal case against Magomedov was sent to Makhachkala’s Sovietsky District Court. The Main Investigation Department of the North Caucasus Federal District conducted the investigation, and the indictment was confirmed by Deputy Prosecutor General of Russia Ivan Sydoruk.

Magomedov is accused of forgery, as according to the prosecutor’s office, he signed official documents in December 2016 in Makhachkala where he deliberately indicated a false amount of work done on the construction of the Derbent promenade. According to them, uncompleted construction work was indicated there as completed, and a construction contractor was illegitimately transferred ₽44 million ($670,000).

According to Chernovik, ₽410 million ($6.2 million) in federal funds and ₽22 million ($330,000) from the republic’s budget was allocated to build the central promenade in Derbent. The main administrator of the funds was the Russian Ministry for North Caucasus Affairs.

Repeated delays

According to local media reports, the construction of the promenade was to be completed for the city’s ‘2,000th anniversary’ celebrations, set for 18 September 2015. However, construction was not completed on time, with the project facing repeated delays.

In January 2017, Daghestan’s then–head of government, Abdusamad Gamidov, announced that construction was almost 80% complete and put the delays down to humidity, frequent heavy rains, and an initial delay in signing a contract with the construction company.

In May 2017, the Accounts Chamber of Russia released a report accusing the Ministry of North Caucasus Affairs of mismanaging federal funds as construction of the Derbent promenade had not been completed within the timeline specified in the agreement for the ₽410 million in funding it received.

The report said that Daghestan’s Federal Treasury Department fully transferred the funds to the contractor for the construction work, but that local authorities had illegally changed the completion date.

The Ministry of North Caucasus Affairs did not impose financial penalties on the Daghestani authorities for failing to comply with the terms of their agreement, despite being in the contract.

Derbent promenade (/lezgigazet.ru)

‘Saved money’

The promenade was finally opened in a ceremony in Derbent in June 2017. Russian Minister for North Caucasus Affairs Lev Kuznetsov and then–presidential representative to the North Caucasus Oleg Belaventsev, who both attended the launch, praised the construction.

Kuzentsov reported to Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev that ₽37 million ($560,000) had been saved during the project, which had been sent to medical institutions in Chechnya and Kabardino-Balkaria.

Lev Kuznetsov (middle) (/chernovik.net)

The promenade includes a retaining wall with three observation platforms, bicycle and footpaths, playgrounds, a multi-story car park, and spaces for events.

Several residents of Derbent told OC Media that the authorities had saved money by both reducing the extent of the promenade and also in the engineering infrastructure.

‘During the construction of the promenade, old pipes were laid and buried in the ground’, one resident who witnessed the constructing from beginning till the end told OC Media.