Tajikistan's largest real estate development company continues to operate

Tajikistan's largest real estate development company continues to operate

Rumors that operations of Tajikistan's largest real estate development company, Movarounnahr, have been suspended do not correspondent to the fact, Asia-Plus reported.

A statement by Prosecutor-General Sherkhon Salimzoda published in the state-run newspaper Jumhuriyat on August 23 says that Movarounnahr is continuing to operate, even though its top manager Jourabek Okhounov is under arrest.

According to information received, Movarounnahr must pay 13,417,821 somoni (equivalent to more than US$3.5 million) to its 122 customers, who have not taken possession of their apartments. Besides, Movarounnahr has to repay some 13 million somoni taken in loans from banks and more than 11 million somoni to other governmental and non-governmental organizations.

The company also owes more than 947,000 somoni (wage debts) to its employees.

Jourabek Okhounov was arrested in November 2010 and a criminal investigation into the private real-estate developer was sent to the Supreme Court for consideration last month.

Okhounov's defense lawyer Shuhrat Qudratov told Radio Liberty's Tajik Service on July 27 that his client is accused only of selling the same apartment to several people. Qudratov said the Tajik anticorruption agency conducted an investigation into Movarounnahr's activities last month but found no evidence of illegal dealings by either the company or Okhounov.

RFE/RL's Tajik Service quoted Supreme Court Judge Shavkat Abdulkhayrov as saying that the Movarounnahr case is complicated as there are some 600 Movarounnahr customers who made payments on homes that have not yet been completed and are awaiting a resolution of the case against Okhounov.

Movarounnahr accountant Bobo Nasimov told RFE/RL's Tajik Service on July 27 that for the past nine months the company has been unable to function. He said it has been impossible even to pay employees' salaries since the company's bank accounts were frozen. Nasimov said the company has received complaints from some 680 customers, 20 percent of whom have already taken possession of their apartments but have not been given the ownership deeds because the company seal was confiscated.

According to the RFE/RL, Movarounnahr officials admit the company owes some 13 million somoni ($2.75 million) to banks and a further 2.5 million somoni to its customers.

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