10 May 2018 19:09

Kyrgyz parliamentary commission asks Prosecutor General's Office to assess 3 ex-PMs' activities in steam plant upgrade project

BISHKEK. May 10 (Interfax) - The provisional commission set up by the Kyrgyz parliament to investigate a breakdown of a thermal power plant in Bishkek in January this year has recommended that the Prosecutor General's Office give a legal assessment of the activities of three former prime ministers who were involved in the conclusion of the multimillion agreement with the Chinese company TBEA for the plant's upgrade.

The commission has concluded that $386 million allocated for the implementation of the agreement, signed with TBEA in 2013, were misused, Ulan Primov, head of the commission, told parliament on Thursday.

Further, the Prosecutor General's Office, the Accounts Chamber and the National Security Committee should "give a legal assessment of the actions of officials who were involved in the drafting, signing and implementation of the agreement, and probe them for possible affiliation with TBEA," Primov said.

It is also necessary to check whether officials were affiliated with TBEA's subcontractors and sub-suppliers, the commission said.

The ex-prime ministers in question are Zhantoro Satybaldiev, Temir Sariev, who was finance minister in 2013, and Sapar Isakov, who was head of foreign policy in the presidential administration at the time.

For his part, Iskhak Masaliev, of the Onuguu-Progress opposition faction, suggested considering revoking the immunity of the former president Almazbek Atambayev so he could be held to account for concluding "the $386-million lending agreement unprofitable for Kyrgyzstan."

All three former premiers, who were present in parliament, said the agreement with the Chinese company conformed to all legal procedures and was timely and necessary.

During extremely frosty weather in Bishkek in late January the local thermal power plant broke down leading to disruptions in heat supplies in the capital and temperature drops in houses. Central heating to households and businesses was restored on the fourth day.

On February 2 the plant's director Omurkul uulu Nurlan was sacked.

In March Kyrgyz security officers probing a criminal case over the thermal plant's repair arrested Almaz Zhusulbekov, Electric Station's technical director, and Berdibek Borkoev, Electric Stations' ex-deputy director, on suspicion of stealing money allocated for the plant's repair. Both were placed in a detention center of the National Security Committee.

In early April the Committee arrested Uzak Kydyrbayev, Electric Stations' director, and Temirlan Brimkulov, the executive director of Electric Stations' group in charge of the plant upgrade. Both are also now in detention.

The parliament set up a provisional commission to investigate the thermal power plant's breakdown and whether China's $386 million loan granted for the plant's modernization was used rationally.