Security services in Kyrgyzstan have detained the former mayor of the capital city and charged him on three separate counts of corruption.
This move raises the stakes even further in the ruling presidential administration’s hounding of the former head of state, who stepped down in November after completing his single permitted six-year term.
The State Committee for National Security, or GKNB, said in a July 19 statement that they suspect Albek Ibraimov, who was ejected from his post by city councilors in a snap assembly last week, of being behind the illegal transfer of land in Bishkek.
“The transferred plots were subsequently sold to a third party for a higher price,” the GKNB said in a statement.
Bishkek deputy mayor Renat Makenov was detained on July 6 for alleged involvement in the scheme that has now ensnared Ibraimov.
Ibraimov is also accused of misuse of funds while he was head of a torpedo manufacturing plant in 2012. The GKNB claims he embezzled $270,000.
Commenting on his legal troubles and the perfunctory manner in which he was voted out of office by a unanimous vote in the city council, Ibraimov insisted all these developments had been “politically motivated.”
The manner in which investigators have cast their net over leading associates of ex-President Almazbek Atambayev indeed looks anything but incidental.
In June, the security services took a former prime minister, Sapar Isakov, into custody pending investigations into his role in the contentious modernization of a power plant in Bishkek. Isakov was a holdover from the Atambayev era and probably the former president’s most influential ally.
The increasingly ugly behind-the-scenes tussle appears to have stemmed from concerns in the current president’s entourage that Atambayev might seek to use his political influence to continue playing a role in running the country. Although that scenario has been all but quashed given the extent of the purge of Atambayev-era officials that has taken place, arrests and prosecutions are proceeding unabated.
Nurjamal Djanibekova is a journalist based in Bishkek.