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article imageTurkmen leader sacks key aide amid graft charges

By AFP     Feb 6, 2016 in World

Turkmenistan's President Gurbanguly Berdymukhamedov has sacked his administration chief, complaining of corruption and mismanagement, state television said Saturday, as economic troubles begin to mount in the isolated Central Asian state.

Berdymukhamedov indicated "a weakening of discipline in the trade sector, the identification of cases of bribery among managers... a lack of attention to training and non-compliance with instructions provided" as justifications for sacking Palvan Taganov, 37, state media said.

He had served in the post for more than two years.

A former mayor of the capital Ashgabat, Shamukhammet Durdylyev, 53, will replace him as administration head.

The head of the presidential administration serves as the deputy chairman of the cabinet of ministers, which is chaired by the president.

The position of head of presidential administration is the third most senior in the isolated state after the president and speaker of parliament, although there are few checks on Berdymukhamedov's all-pervading powers in practice.

Last month Turkmenistan further tightened restrictions on the exchange of foreign currencies as pressure grows on the ex-Soviet republic's manat currency roiled by low hydrocarbon prices.

Berdymukhamedov took charge of the country with the world's fourth largest gas reserves in 2006, after the death of his eccentric predecessor Saparmurat Niyazov.

Niyazov, who styled himself "Father of the Turkmen," was famous for haranguing his ministers in televised government meetings widely likened to soap operas.

Both the current and former presidents are honoured with golden statues in Ashgabat, a city with the world's highest density of buildings made from white marble, according to Guinness World Records.

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