Prague/Bishkek, Sept 18 (CTK) – President Milos Zeman spokesman Jiri Ovcacek accused on Monday the media of having partially caused Kyrgyzstan’s withdrawal from the contract with the Czech Liglass Trading firm that was to build a cascade of hydroelectric power plants in his Central Asian country.
The Czech and Kyrgyz press reported that Zeman’s office had pleaded for the firm.
Based on data from the Industry and Trade Ministry, Zeman recommended Liglass Trading to his Kyrgyz counterpart Almazbek Atambayev during their meeting, it ensued from his interview with Czech Radio in July.
Moreover, some Czech media wrote that Zeman’s office head Vratislav Mynar had lobbied for the firm with his counterpart in Atambayev’s office, which Mynar confirmed.
“Unfortunately, to the detriment of the Czech Republic and possibly due to the media hysteria as well, it happened that the firm left the market. I regret this very much. I was interceding for it in good will,” Mynar told CTK.
Kyrgyz Prime Minister Sapar Isakov announced at the government meeting on Monday that Kyrgyzstan would unilaterally withdraw from its contract with Liglass Trading, the Kyrgyz media outlets have reported.
“This is no surprise after a consistent media campaign,” Ovcacek told CTK from New York where he accompanies Zeman, commenting on the termination of the Kyrgyz contract.
The Czech firm sent a letter to the Kyrgyz government asking it to postpone the instalment of $37 million it had to pay these days, which was impossible and this is why the government decided to withdraw from the contract, Deputy PM Duyshenbek Zilaliev said.
“He who does not meet the tender conditions, no matter who and where he is, cannot be surprised at being excluded,” Mynar added.
Consequently, Kyrgyzstan will gain a contract guarantee of $1.147 million that Liglass Trading had to pay, the Kabar Kyrgyz news agency reported.
The Kyrgyz government will put up a new tender for the completion of the cascade on the Naryn River that the Russian RusGidro firm started to build, Isakov said.
Zilaliev defended the contract with Liglass Trading, saying the Czech Industry and Trade Ministry had officially supported this firm and vouched for it, the server 24.kg reported.
Liglass Trading general director Michael Smelik told CTK from Kyrgyzstan that the firm would issue a press release as soon as it received an official report.
Liglass Trading, seated near Zelezny Brod, north Bohemia, signed an agreement on the construction and operation of two hydroelectric plants in Kyrgyzstan in July.
The Czech firm was to spend about $37 million on the purchase of RusGidro’s stock in the ZAO Verkhne-Narynskiye GES company that was in charge of the project. The costs of the power plants’ construction were originally put at $400 to 700 million.
The RusGidro management said last week it would claim the unpaid sum of $37 million from the Kyrgyz government in an international arbitration.
According to the Kyrgyz government, Liglass Trading was obliged to cover the sum by September 19.
Smelik told a press conference on Monday that he would like to negotiate with the Kyrgyz government. He also denied some media reports saying his firm did not have the required sum.
Czech media reported earlier that Liglass Trading had never been involved in similar extensive projects. Aktualne.cz wrote in July that the firm had reported revenues of 345,000 crowns and a loss of one million in 2014.