“When a Kazakh company receives a letter with a request to sponsor the ruling political party, refusal is fraught with inspections by the financial police and other regulatory authorities.
Consent in itself doesn’t guarantee anything, but a large donation allows the company to continue working quietly.
Officially there is no violation of the law. Donations are voluntary —you pay if you want to, you don’t pay if you don’t want to. But everyone understands how it works. And the goals of the ruling party are noble: a “prosperous Kazakhstan.” How then not to contribute?
The argument is more persuasive considering a 2010 public perception survey about corruption in the Ministry of Finance. It found that over 54 percent of the representatives of small and medium businesses are victims of extortion by staff in finance structures, and over 60 percent have witnessed extortions to others.”
That’s the start of a fascinating story by Kazakh reporter Akhmet Lukpanov about political finance in his country. The story is part of the Global Integrity Report: 2010 and a The Corruption Notebooks’ series on money in politics.