Kyrgyzstan: high-profile dismissals, arrests in the energy sector

BISHKEK (TCA) — The investigation into this past winter’s accident at the Bishkek thermal power plant (TPP) has been completed in Kyrgyzstan, revealing corruption schemes in the country’s energy sector.

Several high-profile dismissals, criminal cases and arrests give hope that authorities in Kyrgyzstan are serious about the elimination of corruption in the energy sector.

‘Immense negligence’

“I have got acquainted with the Commission’s opinion and concluded that the situation at the Bishkek TPP was the result of an immense negligence that led to such consequences when the whole city remained without heating in the winter time [the air temperature outside was minus 20 degrees Celsius]. Therefore, it is impossible to forgive this. On this fact, according to my request […], the Prosecutor General’s Office instituted criminal proceedings, and investigative measures are currently underway,” Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan Sapar Isakov said on April 10 at the Government’s meeting discussing the results of the work of the Interdepartmental Commission investigating the causes of the accident at the Bishkek TPP on January 26, 2018.

Isakov supported the Commission’s conclusion that the actions of the TPP personnel violated the instructions for liquidation of accidents, and ordered to take disciplinary measures against the persons in charge indicated by the Commission.

“It is necessary to review the disciplinary measures against ordinary employees of the Bishkek TPP, who followed the instructions of their chiefs, and whose fault is insignificant. Ordinary employees should not be punished for those who headed the process,” Isakov said.

He stressed the need to strengthen the human resources and create conditions for attracting highly qualified specialists to the energy sector.

Energy Holding head fired

The Prime Minister ordered to fire Aibek Kaliev, Chairman of the National Energy Holding Company, and Uzak Kydyrbaev, General Director of the Electric Stations OJSC.

“I decided to dismiss Aibek Kaliev, who, as the head of the National Energy Holding, was responsible for the preparation of companies for the autumn and winter heating season. I was waiting for the results of the investigation which revealed that the National Energy Holding could not even clearly explain to the parliament and the general public the main facts on the TPP modernization,” Isakov said.

Later on April 10, the State Property Management Fund fired Kaliev from his post.

According to Prime Minister, the Government will also take into account the results of the Parliamentary Commission that looked into the causes of the accident at the Bishkek TPP and the use of the $386 million loan received for its modernization.

Officials detained

On April 3, Uzak Kadyrbaev, General Director of Electric Stations, and Temirlan Brimkulov, Director for Modernization of the Bishkek TPP, were detained by the State Committee of National Security over the case.

On March 3, Berdibek Borkoyev, first Deputy General Director of the Electric Stations JSC, was detained for two months. He was charged with large-scale misappropriation of property and violation of procedures for holding public auctions and tenders.

On March 7, Almaz Jusupbekov, technical director of Electric Stations, was detained.

Strange purchases

The local media and social networks have discussed strange purchases made for the modernization of the Bishkek TPP including two pliers for $640 and CCTV cameras for $14 thousand each.

TPP’s ex-Director Omurkul uulu Nurlan publicly accused the energy sector management of corruption at a press conference in March, presenting documents with a list of purchased items for upgrading the TPP at inflated prices. He was fired after he told journalists the reasons of the accident, Omurkul uulu Nurlan said.

Answering the question why he did not speak about the violations earlier — during the modernization of the power plant, he said he was following orders from his bosses.


The state-controlled Electric Stations OJSC generates 98% of electricity in Kyrgyzstan. The company includes seven hydro power plants and two thermal power plants in Bishkek and Osh.

The Energy Holding was created in January 2016 as part of the reform of the energy sector, planned to reduce energy losses by introduction of modern management system. However, from the very beginning some experts and MPs were skeptical that this is possible. State-owned enterprises are the main debtors of the energy companies, and many enterprises are under bankruptcy procedures.

The modernization of the Bishkek TPP, which has been operating since 1961, began in 2015 and was completed in 2017. The renewed station was inaugurated on August 30, 2017. On July 16, 2013, a contract to implement the Modernization of the Bishkek TPP project worth $386 million was signed between the Electric Stations JSC and the Chinese company TBEA.

Under a loan agreement between the Kyrgyz Government and the Export-Import Bank of China, the Kyrgyz Finance Ministry was granted a $386 million soft loan at a 2% interest rate per annum and a maturity of 20 years. The loan was issued without collateral, under the guarantee of the Kyrgyz Government. The Electric Stations pays out the loan to the Kyrgyz Finance Ministry which repays to the Export-Import Bank of China.