The former prime minister of Kyrgyzstan, Temir Sariyev, was arrested on Tuesday over corruption charges in connection with the development of Kumtor goldmine in capital Bishkek.
According to the State National Security Committee, the 58-year-old, who served as the Central Asian nation’s prime minister from 2015 to 2016, was alleged to have caused “enormous financial damage” to the country as finance minister.
However, the former prime minister was not the only senior politician in Kyrgyzstan to be implicated in the controversial goldmine deal.
Former president Askar Akayev was also being questioned in the ongoing corruption investigation.
The 76-year-old Akayev, who had been wanted by investigators for some time but was living in self-imposed exile abroad, reportedly returned to Kyrgyzstan voluntarily on Monday after 16 years.
Kyrgyzstan’s current president, Sadyr Zhaparov, promised a “real fight” against corruption after taking office at the beginning of the year.
Zhaparov was freed from prison in October 2020, where he had been serving an 11-year sentence for attempting to take hostages in the 2013 protests against the Kumtor mine, though he has always denied any involvement in the affair.
Immediately after leaving prison, Zhaparov took over as head of government, ousted former president Sooronbay Jeenbekov from office and had himself controversially appointed president after a disputed election in January. (Reuters/NAN)