10 Jan 2019 13:22

Ex-Kyrgyz PM Isakov faces new corruption charge

BISHKEK. Jan 10 (Interfax) - The Kyrgyz National Security Committee has brought a new corruption charge against former prime minister Sapar Isakov as part of the criminal inquiry into renovations of the History Museum, which caused about $1.5 million damages to the country, the agency's press service told Interfax on Thursday.

"The Main Investigative Department has indicted former prime minister Isakov under Part 2, Article 303 [of the Kyrgyz Criminal Code], 'Corruption with Grave Consequences,'" the press service said.

Investigators say that Isakov, who was head of the presidential administration at the time, interfered in renovations of the History Museum in 2017, as a result of which the Turkish Cooperation and Coordination Agency, which was doing the work under an agreement with the Kyrgyz government, withdrew from the project.

This forced Kyrgyzstan to fund the renovations using over 1.5 billion soms ($21.5 million) of state funds. It was initially planned to use a Turkish grant of $15 million for that purpose.

"After that, Isakov established a lasting criminal connection with certain individuals and engaged the German company Vitrinen- und Glasbau REIER GmbH in the creation of a new museum exhibition in violation of Kyrgyz law, without arranging a public procurement procedure, and against the interests of the state," the press service said.

The German company supplied expensive exhibits, expendable materials, and equipment that contravened the museum's approved concept, the press service said. Also, the contract with the German company was denominated in euros, instead of soms, which led to additional costs totaling millions of soms.

"The criminal actions of Isakov and some other officials caused damages totaling 101,690,800 soms (about $1.5 million) to the country. Meanwhile, the renovations of the History Museum that began in 2016 remain unfinished," the press service said.

Isakov, a member of former president Almazbek Atambayev's entourage, is also a key suspect in a case over corruption in the modernization of the Bishkek power-and-heating plant with a Chinese loan of $386 million. The National Security Committee accused Isakov and some other officials of causing damages of over $111 million by wittingly signing an "unprofitable contract" for modernizing the power-and-heating plant with the Chinese company TBEA.

According to Isakov's lawyer Nurbek Toktakunov, the investigators have no proof of the former prime minister's guilt, and his criminal case is politically motivated.