Two more Kyrgyz politicians are facing corruption charges. This week two parliamentarians, members of the Bir Bol party, part of the ruling coalition, were the target of a criminal case opened by the Prosecutor General’s office.
According to RFE/RL, Igor Chudinov and Akylbek Japarov — a former prime minister and former economy and trade minister, respectively — are suspected by the state of “mishandling $2.9 million in state funds allocated for agricultural projects in 2009.”
Chudinov served as prime minister from 2007 to 2009, under President Kurmanbek Bakiyev. He was nominated by Bakiyev’s party, Ak-Jol, following the 2007 election, which was criticized by both opposition and international observers. Bakiyev’s new party took 71 of 90 seats. The Social Democratic Party, with Roza Otunbayeva at its head, took 11 seats.
In January 2008, Bruce Pannier wrote up a profile of the new prime minister, noting that his priorities were boosting the state’s economy, “particularly in key sectors such as farming, minerals and gold.” The 2007 election had been triggered by a constitutional referendum that seemed to have shifted more powers to legislature. Pannier wrote at the time, “so in theory Chudinov should be the first Kyrgyz prime minister in years to have the ability to make policy.”
In an interview after his appointment, Chudinov highlighted work that needed to be done in the agriculture sector. “Without the agrarian sector,” he said “it is impossible to develop our country any further. We will focus on specialization and processing capacities and that is how I think we will be able to salvage our agriculture.”
Chudinov resigned in October 2009, only seven months before Bakiyev was swept from power. In August 2010, Chudinov was arrested, then kept under house arrest for a time. He was elected back into parliament in 2015.
Current President Almazbek Atambayev was Chudinov’s predecessor in the prime minister’s seat (with Iskenderbek Aidaraliyev serving as acting prime minister in between). Atambayev served a short stint as prime minister in 2007, having been appointed by Bakiyev, in part to deflect criticism that he was running a one-party state like his presidential predecessor.
As Zanaoza.kg pointed out, the case against Chudinov and Japarov brings the total number of current parliamentarians facing charges up to seven.
The politicians facing various charges at present hail from four of the six parties in parliament, one from the opposition and three from the ruling coalition. From the ruling coalition, besides Chudinov and Japarov from Bir Bol, the Kyrgyzstan Party’s Kanat Isaev and SDPK’s Muzaffar Isakov are facing separate corruption charges. Three members of the opposition party, Ata-Meken, are facing charges as well: the party’s leader and presidential hopeful Omurbek Tekebayev, Aida Salyanova, and Almambet Shykmamatov.
The Kyrgyz news site compared the current sitting parliament to the previous parliament in terms of MPs charged with crimes. There were reportedly 20 criminal cases lodged against 15 members of the previous seating. Zanaoza.kg’s articles profiles each charged parliamentarian and it’s worth noting that many of those charged from the previous parliament convocation either had their cases suspended because they retained parliamentary immunity or, in the cases which ended in conviction, were amnestied. Some cases, like that of Sadyr Japarov, remain ongoing.