KABAR, KNEWS (Kirghizistan), KOMMERSANT (Russia)
Bishkek - The Kirghiz parliamentary faction Ata-Meken is accusing Prime Minister Omurbek Babanov of taking bribes and threatening to take a vote of no confidence in the president, Kommersant reports.
At issue is a gift of a racehorse that Ata-Meken’s leader Omurbek Tekebaev says Babanov was given by a Turkish company in exchange for awarding them the contract to build a new tower at an airport. Babanov denies all wrongdoing. According to him, the airport tower is being built with a $30 million grant from the Pentagon. He says the Americans were responsible both for taking bids and ultimately contracting the Turkish company. He also argues that he purchased the racehorse with his own money for $20,000, Kommersant reports. The deputies from Ata-Meten say the horse is worth between $500,000 and $1.3 million.
As for the real motive behind the accusations, Babanov believes that Ata-Meken is fabricating the bribe story as a way to get back at him for not appointing their preferred candidate to the post of director of the state gas and oil company, Knews reports. Babanov also said he is not afraid of the law or of the Ata-Meken faction.
Babanov also drew into Tekebaev’s own personal finances into question, saying that he has been acquiring new jeeps and bodyguards that have to paid, and that it is not clear where the money is coming from, Kabar reported.
Babanov has been Prime Minister of Kirghizistan since December 2011. The country has had two coups in the last 10 years, and is considered one of the most corrupt countries in the world.