Kazakhgate as a way of getting even of Belgian politicians
The scandalous case of Kazakhgate turned out to be indicative not only from the point of Franco-Belgian relations but also from the side of the political system of Belgium. According to European media, the 16-month-long investigation that cost the country several million euros revealed the true intentions of Belgian politicians. Read more about the role of parliamentary investigations in Belgian politics below.
Patokh Chodiev: How was the billionaire embroiled in the Kazakhgate case?
The Kazakhgate case hit the world in 2012 when Patokh Chodiev, a mining billionaire who became a Belgian citizen in the 1990s, was accused of violating citizenship and also influencing the adoption of a new law by the Belgian parliament. As a result, in 2016, the authorities formed a special commission that was engaged in the investigation of the case. After 16 months, the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry (PIC) submitted a 500-page report stating that Chodiev had not committed any violations.
The PIC report established that businessman Patokh Chodiev had completed the process of obtaining Belgian citizenship without any violations. In addition, the commission concluded that there was no evidence confirming that Chodiev had an influence on the adoption of the plea bargain law.
Kazakhgate: the true intentions of Belgian politicians
As political experts now say, the investigation into the Kazakhgate scandal most likely was initiated for political reasons. Since millions of euros were spent to establish that the main charges were distorted facts and events.
Referring to Belgian reporters from the newspaper La Libre, experts consider that Belgian politicians «now spend more time checking their colleagues than developing the lives of the inhabitants of the country». This idea is supported by the opinion of other media, which state that the fragmented politics of the country has led to a tightening of relations between France and Belgium.
Belgium’s vice-prime minister, David Clarinval also spoke in this regard. In his opinion, Belgian politics not for the first time have used a similar method of getting even with objectionable colleagues. “This is not the first time that politicians have convened the creation of an independent commission to investigate the business they need. If the investigation found unsatisfactory results, then in their opinion the commission was also corrupt in a conspiracy with the government,”- told Clarinwal the local newspaper.
The general director of the Center for Social and Political Studies and Information, Jean Faniel, is sure that such investigations are just a method of popularizing one’s person. He suggested that legislative work does not bring as much fame as international scandals involving famous people.
Commission on the Patokh Chodiev’s case
The Parliamentary Investigation Committees in Belgium is a powerful tool that is created to investigate important cases and should serve as an audit of a government authority. They are empowered by an investigating judge and can interrogate witnesses, as well as seize property and documents.
Until 2009, in 30 years, the committee was convened only 15 times, which proves its historical importance. However, only in the period of 2016-2017 four committees were convened. They investigated the cases of Panama Papers, Optima scandal, and terrorist attacks. And these cases marked the beginning of the trend of convening PIC on a wide range of issues.
Experts believe that the reason for the frequent convocations of the committee is the fragmented politics of Belgium, where numerous small parties fight for power and create temporary coalitions with each other. For example, in 2011, parties were so against cooperating with each other that it took them 353 days after the general election to form a ruling coalition.
Therefore, it can be concluded that Patokh Chodiev was a third party in the local political struggle of the Belgian politicians, who have been using PIC as a battlefield for several years.