“Thankful” Akaev, in fact, confirmed that he had come to testify voluntarily in the “Kumtori” case, considers himself a witness and not an accused, intends to stay in Kyrgyzstan for a week and then travel back to Moscow.
“I am very grateful to the leadership of the country, President Sadir Nurgozhevich (Japarov), for allowing me to come to Kyrgyzstan, my homeland. I came to cooperate with the investigation. You know that I was sued in court over the Kumtori project. “Kumtori” was built in my time. I am ready to tell you honestly, openly and clearly how it was built, what it was built for and what mistakes were made. Thus, I testify to the investigation, today was the first interrogation. I am also grateful to the chairman of the National Security Committee for receiving me well. The interrogation continues. Earlier, I met the President of the country at the state residence, and I thanked him personally. I can not tell you anything more, you will learn the rest of the information from the lawyer “, – Askar Akaev told journalists.
No one in Kyrgyzstan expected such a development after the arrival of Askar Akaev, given that former Kyrgyz prime ministers, ruling party lawmakers and other high-ranking officials have already been prosecuted in connection with the Kumtori gold mine case.
High-ranking figures in the Kumtori case
On June 4, a court in the city of Bishkek sentenced former Kyrgyz Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov to two months in pretrial detention, who were arrested by security officials on May 31. He is suspected of a corrupt deal related to the realization of the project “Kumtori”. Omurbek Babanov was the Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan in 2011-2012.
According to the Kyrgyz Service of Radio Liberty, on August 3, officers of the Kyrgyz National Security Committee arrested another former Prime Minister of the country, Temir Sariev, in connection with the Kumtori case. According to the investigation, Sariev, when he was the Minister of Economy of the country and headed the State Commission of the Kumtori field, reduced the damage caused to the environment by several billion som, thus causing significant damage to the country.
And against this background, Kyrgyzstan receives as its guest of honor the country’s first president, Askar Akayev, who, like another exiled former president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, was declared wanted by the Security Committee on July 8 for criminalizing corruption at various stages of the Kumtor project. Within.
“After Askar Akayev fled the country, Kumtor, the country’s largest gold mine, was seized by the Kyrgyz authorities from Canadian investors, and Kyrgyzstan itself is currently working on the mine, which is the largest in Central Asia. It was a very big international scandal. A large-scale investigation is underway. Authorities say there was a lot of corruption in the beginning. All the agreements were signed during Akaev’s presidency, and the Kyrgyz authorities and the population have a lot of questions for Akaev. “First of all, how did it happen that the biggest gold mine, which was said to have the whole country and people immersed in gold, serves an uncertain Canadian company and foreign investment.”, Says Venera Jumataeva, director of Radio Liberty Kyrgyzstan.
An investigation by the Kyrgyz Security Committee into the Kumtori case is set to prove to the International Court of Justice that the Canadian company Centerra Gold Inc. The former rulers of the country were ransomed.
“According to the agreement signed with a Canadian company in 1992-1994, Askar Akaev abused his official position. Similar agreements were later signed by Kurmanbek Bakiyev. “The investigation is working to establish a possible connection between the case and two other former presidents – Almazbek Atambayev and Sooronbay Zheenbekov.”, – said on July 8 the chairman of the Kyrgyz State Security Committee Kamchibek Tashiev.
This is Kamchibek Tashiyev, whom, as mentioned above, Askar Akaev, who returned to his homeland unexpectedly, thanked for the “good reception”.
Russia and Belarus – A haven for wanted Kyrgyz presidents
What is this – the usual Eastern diplomacy, if Akaev really has a guarantee that the cooperation with the court will last a maximum of one week, and after that he will return to Russia in peace?
In Kyrgyzstan, you are also interested in the extent to which Russian President Vladimir Putin, who took refuge with Akaev 16 years ago after his coup, gave him a job and was named an “honorary member of the Academy of Sciences.”
“Russia is carrying out very large projects to extract minerals from the gas and energy sectors in Kyrgyzstan. That is why the Russian government is trying to show political flexibility in its relations with Kyrgyzstan. It is clear that there were talks between the Russian and Kyrgyz authorities, and Russia received some assurances from Bishkek that Akaev would not be arrested and extradited to Russia, while Moscow, in turn, sought to raise the profile of President Sadir Japarov and his right-hand man, Kamchibitsek., – says Venera Jumataeva.
Uzbekistan is expected to be followed by another former president, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Jerry, who, unlike the first president, is in Belarus.
But it is difficult for Bishkek to find common ground on Bakiyev’s extradition with Belarus’s autocratic leader, Aliaksand Lukashenko, who ousted President Bakiyev, ousted by Kyrgyzstan’s 2010 “Tulip Revolution,” and then-Prime Minister Ush.
The whereabouts of Kurmanbek Bakiyev in Minsk are unknown. During this time he never appeared before the press. As for the former Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan, the wanted Daniar Usenov, his photo was twice published in the Belarusian media. The last time this happened was on August 10, 2020, the second day of the disputed presidential election, when Aliaksand Lukashenka, the president-designate of the commission, visited the National Biotechnology Corporation.
Kyrgyzstan’s Foreign Ministry said on August 11 that a Belarusian embassy staffer in Bishkek had been sent a protest note urging Usenov to “take urgent measures to detain and extradite him.”
But the statement did not receive any comment from the Belarusian authorities.
In 2014, a Kyrgyz court sentenced Kurmanbek Bakiyev, Danair Usenov and 24 others to life in prison in absentia for ordering the bloody events of April 2010.
Eleven people were killed in the Kyrgyz capital, Bishkek, 11 years ago after security forces fired live ammunition at anti-government protesters.
In his time, Minsk refused to extradite Bishkek to the former president of Kyrgyzstan, Kurmanbek Bakiyev, and the parties will not return to the issue publicly.