Accessibility links

Breaking News

Fresh Corruption Charges Filed Against Kyrgyz Ex-PM

Then-President Almazbek Atambaev (center) meets with then-Prime Minister Sooronbai Jeenbekov (left) and his chief of staff, Sapar Isakov, in May 2017.

BISHKEK -- 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.

The State Committee for National Security (UKMK) 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.

UKMK 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, UKMK 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 Atambaev.

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.

Sapar Isakov in RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau in May 2018
Sapar Isakov in RFE/RL's Bishkek bureau in May 2018

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

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

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

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

In late December, former customs chief Adamkul Junusov was extradited from Azerbaijan to Bishkek on charges of abusing his power during Atambaev's 2013-15 presidency.

In October, Atambaev'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 Atambaev 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.