Kyrgyz Ex-President rejects accusations ahead of bote on his Immunity

June 2019
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Kyrgyz Ex-President rejects accusations ahead of bote on his Immunity. On 20 June, Kyrgyz lawmakers voted for a resolution stripping Atambaev of the immunity all former presidents receive under the country's laws. The move came amid allegations that Atambaev abused his powers while in office. Kyrgyzstan's former president has rejected all accusations leveled against him by lawmakers and the prosecutor-general, as the parliament gets ready to vote on stripping him of immunity from prosecution. In a statement made public by his associates on 26 June, Almazbek Atambaev accused his successor Sooronbai Jeenbekov of "lawlessness" and using against him "the dirtiest politicians with the dirtiest corrupt past, and the most immoral information technologies."


Kyrgyz authorities investigate heroin smuggled to Europe as 'Turkish Sweets'.

June 2019
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Kyrgyz authorities investigate heroin smuggled to Europe as 'Turkish Sweets'. Kyrgyz authorities have launched an investigation into a heroin-smuggling case after customs officials at the German-Polish border discovered 670 kg of heroin in a truck that was meant to be transporting sweets to Belgium from a Bishkek-based company. The Kyrgyz Interior Ministry said on 20 June that a woman who owns the Elit Shoko company was summoned for questioning in the case. On 18 June, German customs police said the heroin had been disguised as "Turkish sweets." The German authorities said 532 packages, each containing 1.3 kilograms of heroin, had been discovered in the truck at the German-Polish border late on 31 May. German authorities also said the drugs most likely originated from Afghanistan and were on their way to Belgium. It is the largest amount of heroin ever discovered in Germany with an estimated street value of up to $56 million.


Former British Ambassador becomes Kyrgyzstan's Business Ombudsman

June 2019
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Former British Ambassador becomes Kyrgyzstan's Business Ombudsman. The former British Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Robin Ord-Smith, has been elected as the Central Asian state's business ombudsman. The decision was made by a special commission consisting of business groups and associations, representatives of the Kyrgyz government, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The post was established by the Kyrgyz government in January. The 53-year-old served as the British ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from June 2015 to January 2019. The EBRD is expected to allocate 1.5 million euros ($1.68 million) for the launch of the business ombudsman's operations in Kyrgyzstan.

Former British Ambassador becomes Kyrgyzstan's Business Ombudsman. The former British Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan, Robin Ord-Smith, has been elected as the Central Asian state's business ombudsman. The decision was made by a special commission consisting of business groups and associations, representatives of the Kyrgyz government, and the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). The post was established by the Kyrgyz government in January. The 53-year-old served as the British ambassador to Kyrgyzstan from June 2015 to January 2019. The EBRD is expected to allocate 1.5 million euros ($1.68 million) for the launch of the business ombudsman's operations in Kyrgyzstan.


Atambaev at risk as Kyrgyz Law allowing prosecution of ex-Presidents comes into force

May 2019
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Atambaev at risk as Kyrgyz Law allowing prosecution of ex-Presidents comes into force. Kyrgyz legislation under which former heads of state can be prosecuted came into force two days after ex-President Almazbek Atambaev stepped down from the leadership of the opposition Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan (SDPK). The law that came into force on May 27 was ratified by President Sooronbai Jeenbekov in mid-May amid calls by some politicians for an investigation into decisions made by Atambaev, his predecessor, when he was in office.

The new law preserves immunity from prosecution for former presidents, but also states that prosecution is possible if they lose their formal status as an ex-President. Parliament can strip former presidents of that status if they are suspected of "especially serious crimes" by the Prosecutor-General's Office, according to the text, which was given final approval by lawmakers in April.


Justice Department repatriates forfeited funds to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic.

March 2019
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Justice Department repatriates forfeited funds to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. The U.S. Department of Justice repatriated stolen assets to the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic arising from the corruption and theft of government funds by the prior regime of Kurmanbek Bakiyev and his son Maxim Bakiyev, as announced on 1 March 2019. So far, approximately $4.5 million of the funds have been collected and are approved for repatriation of the $6 million ordered to be forfeited will be repatriated. These funds will be deposited in the account of the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic. In a joint statement by the Kyrgyz Republic and the U.S. State Department, the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic confirms that the repatriated assets will be used for the benefit of the Kyrgyz people, with a focus on social projects and anti-corruption and transparency.


Fresh Corruption Charges Filed Against Kyrgyz Ex-PM

January 2019
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Fresh Corruption Charges Filed Against Kyrgyz Ex-PM. 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 10 January 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. Earlier in January, 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.


Bill to strip ex-Presidents’ immunity approved in first reading in Kyrgyzstan

December 2018
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Bill to strip ex-Presidents’ immunity approved in first reading in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz lawmakers approved in first reading a bill that would eliminate immunity for ex-presidents, potentially opening the path for the prosecution of the country’s former leader Almazbek Atambaev. 100 lawmakers in the 120-seat chamber voted for the bill on 13 December 2018. The parliamentary Committee for Legislation, State Structures, and Judicial Issues approved the bill in late November and it needs to be approved in two more readings by the lawmakers before President Sooronbai Jeenbekov can sign it into law.


Bill to Strip ex-President’s Immunity Advances in Kyrgyzstan

November 2018
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Bill to Strip ex-President’s Immunity Advances in Kyrgyzstan. Kyrgyz lawmakers have given preliminary approval to a bill that would eliminate immunity for ex-Presidents, potentially opening the path for the prosecution of former leader Almazbek Atambaev. The Parliamentary Committee for Legislation, State Structures, and Judicial Issues approved the bill on 27 November, meaning it is now likely to go to the full parliament for debate. The committee's backing comes amid persistent tension between Atambaev, who heads the ruling Social Democratic Party of Kyrgyzstan, and his successor, Sooronbai Jeenbekov, a former ally. In October, Kyrgyzstan's Supreme Court ruled that the immunity enjoyed by the country's former Presidents is unconstitutional. Only two post-Soviet Kyrgyz leaders currently enjoy the official status of ex-presidents, Atambaev and Roza Otunbaeva, while former Presidents Akaev and Bakiev were stripped of the status when they fled Kyrgyzstan following their ousters. Both have been sentenced in absentia to lengthy prison terms on charges including corruption and abuse of office.


Kyrgyzstan wants transparency to curb corruption

September 2018
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Kyrgyzstan wants transparency to curb corruption. In a nationwide poll of Kyrgyzstan in February, an overwhelming 95% said that corruption is a big problem for the country. Despite this, the Kyrgyz people are optimistic. 66% in the same survey believed that the country is headed in the right direction. Last year the country launched a national vision called Taza Koom, meaning ‘transparent society’, to use technology to transform the economy into a “digital silk road” hub and build trust with citizens. Technology will play a huge role in tackling corruption, believes Talant Sultanov, an architect of Taza Koom and advisor to the former Prime Minister. “The officials prone to corrupt practices and the interest groups realise how digitalisation and transparency could put a brake on their way of doing things,” tells Sultanov.


Jeenbekov: I want to see civil society as main partner in fighting corruption

July/August 2018
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Jeenbekov: I want to see civil society as main partner in fighting corruption. Speaking at the meeting held with representatives of non-governmental sector, President Jeenbekov stressed the cooperation between state bodies and civil society in the development of the country. “Despite the fact where a person works, in the non-governmental sector or state structure, the goal should be one - development of the state, improvement of people's livelihood, labour for the benefit of the future of Kyrgyzstan. Close constructive communication between state bodies and civil society creates prerequisites for openly voicing problems and goals. Such cooperation is the basis for successful work,” the President’s press service cited his words.