Kyrgyzstan: Fresh corruption charges filed against ex-prime minister

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BISHKEK (TCA) — Kyrgyzstan’s former prime minister, who was arrested in 2018 on corruption charges linked to the modernization of a Bishkek power plant, is facing additional charges in another corruption case, RFE/RL’s Kyrgyz Service reported.

The State Committee for National Security said on January 10 that Sapar Isakov had been charged with corruption that led to serious financial losses in connection with the reconstruction of the Kyrgyz State Museum of History in Bishkek.

The Committee has charged that Isakov illegally interfered in the reconstruction project in 2016, leading a Turkish company involved in the repair work to cancel its agreement with the Kyrgyz government.

The cancellation resulted in additional expenses for Kyrgyzstan’s budget.

Earlier this week, the Committee said investigations into the Bishkek power-plant corruption case had been completed.

That case stems back to 2013, when Isakov was implementing a project to modernize the Bishkek thermal power station.

At the time, Isakov was the deputy head of the administration of then-President Almazbek Atambayev.

Isakov is accused of using his position to lobby for a Chinese company during the tender for the contract to modernize the power plant.

The Chinese company TBEA was eventually awarded the contract.

Criminal proceedings in the case against Isakov were launched after an accident at the Bishkek power station in January 2018 left thousands of local households without heat for several days.

The 41-year-old Isakov is considered to be a close associate of Atambayev.

Pressure on Isakov and several other former officials has increased amid ongoing tensions between President Sooronbai Jeenbekov and Atambayev.

Atambayev had backed Jeenbekov in Kyrgyzstan’s October 2017 presidential election, but has criticized Jeenbekov in recent months.

Another of Atambayev’s close allies, former Prime Minister Jantoro Satybaldiev, was also arrested in 2018 on corruption charges.

In October, Atambayev’s former adviser, Ikramjan Ilmiyanov, was detained in Russia and brought by Kyrgyz authorities to Bishkek, where he faces corruption charges.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz lawmakers and other politicians are increasingly calling for an investigation into decisions made by Atambayev during his presidency.

The Supreme Court ruled in October that the immunity provided to the country’s former presidents is unconstitutional.

On November 27, a parliamentary committee outlined a bill that would eliminate immunity for former presidents.

Sergey Kwan

TCA