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2 Okt 2019

Erin Chen, Eurasianet

Kyrgyzstan: Construction of Issyk-Kul highway delayed as Longhai Road & Bridge Corporation riddled with financial, legal problems

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Kyrgyzstan and Longhai: Chasing the dragon, 02 October 2019

...With its eye now trained on Central Asia, Longhai Road and Bridge Corporation put in a bid to build a 104-kilometer highway along the northern shore of Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk-Kul Lake. It edged out two Kyrgyz companies and Turkish contender to win the contract...

The Issyk-Kul deal sparked immediate controversy inside Kyrgyzstan. Adyl Zhunus uulu, a Chinese-born member of parliament, echoed an oft-expressed sentiment when he complained that “tenders are run corruptly so that the foreign companies can win.” In a curious development, Zhunus uulu’s brother, a scholar who lived in China’s Xinjiang province, was in December 2018 arrested amid the crackdown against Muslim minorities in China’s west.

Another member of parliament queried how it was that a Turkish company was excluded from bidding for the contract because it had no operating license when Longhai too lacked that paperwork.

The prime minister at the time the contract was awarded, Temir Sariyev, faced public accusations that he or his associates had been lobbying on behalf on the Chinese company. Sariyev rejected those allegations...

The Issyk-Kul highway was dragged into further controversy from mid-2017, when workers began to complain of unpaid salaries. And then last November, it was Longhai Road and Bridge Corporation that took to grumbling in voluble terms about the problems it has endured during construction. “During works, we have run into temporary problems. One such happened recently, when workers and subcontractors downed their tools,” the company said in a statement...