Primary anti-bribery legislation and enforcement agencies
Criminal Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 3 July 2014, as amended
Code of the Republic of Kazakhstan On Administrative Offences dated 5 July 2014, as amended
Law On Countering Corruption dated 18 November 2015, as amended
Law On State Service of the Republic of Kazakhstan dated 23 November 2015
Investigating agency: Agency of the Republic of Kazakhstan for Public Service Affairs and Countering Corruption
Prosecuting agency: Public prosecutor
Bribing Domestic Public Officials
A person is guilty of an offense if:
- he or she provides, directly or through an intermediary, money, securities, other property, proprietary rights or benefits to a public official
- for an act or non-act in the interests of the bribe giver or persons the bribe-giver represents
- if the act or non-act is part of the public official’s duties under the law, what the public official can do by virtue of his or her authority, or the bribe is given in exchange for general informal protection or advancement.
Two defenses to this offense:
- Providing a benefit of a minor value (not more than USD12.8) for an earlier lawful action (or inaction) of a public official provided that such benefit is provided for the first time and there was no prior agreement with the public official1
- A bribe was extorted by a public official or was voluntarily reported by the bribe-giver to the relevant enforcement agency.
Kazakhstani law does not recognize the legality of facilitation payments and does not draw any distinction from bribes.
Certain symbolic gifts with a value not exceeding approximately USD64 may be provided to public officials, taking into consideration the definition of bribery, i.e., that such gifts are legal only if not made in exchange for the official performing his or her official functions. Otherwise, there is a risk of criminal and/or administrative liability.
In addition, public officials in certain cases may be allowed to accept invitations to participate in international science, professional and other similar forums at the expense of organizations, and during the forums, the officials may be permitted to accept certain limited gifts or benefits.
Corporate liability: Responsible officers of a legal entity that corrupts public officials may be held criminally liable under the Criminal Code. In addition, the legal entity itself may be held administratively liable under the Code On Administrative Offences.
Extraterritorial application: No
Penalties – Criminal, Administrative and/or Civil Liability
For an individual: Imprisonment for up to 15 years (with or without confiscation of property), a fine of up to 50 times the amount of bribe, lifetime prohibition on holding certain positions or performing certain activities
For bodies corporate: Administrative liability in the form of a fine of up to approximately USD4,800 (USD9,600 for repeated breaches)
Benefits obtained by bribery may be forfeited to the government pursuant to the Criminal Code and Law On Countering Corruption.
Bribing Foreign Public Officials
Bribery of foreign public officials is regulated in the same way as bribery of domestic public officials (see above).
However, unlike in other countries such as the United States or the United Kingdom, Kazakhstan’s prohibition against bribing foreign public officials does not extend beyond its borders except in very specific cases.
The Criminal Code only views bribing foreign officials as a crime in the following cases:
- If the bribery of a foreign public official was committed outside of Kazakhstan by a Kazakhstani citizen and was not prosecuted in the state in which it was committed
- If the bribery of a foreign public official was committed outside of Kazakhstan by a non-Kazakhstani citizen directly against the interest of Kazakhstan, and was not prosecuted in the state in which it was committed
- If the bribery of a foreign public official was committed outside of Kazakhstan by a non-Kazakhstani citizen and was not prosecuted in the state it was committed, and bribery is subject to an international treaty to which Kazakhstan and this state are parties
1 In such event, the bribe-giver would be exempt from criminal liability but may still be subject to administrative liability pursuant to the Code On Administrative Offences.