Pentagon awards new $315 million fuel contract to burger flipper

Mina Corp., the focus of a Kyrgyzstan criminal investigation into alleged corruption, has been awarded a new $315 million contract to deliver fuel to the U.S. air base in the Central Asian republic. The new contract — on top of some $3 billion in previous contracts with the Pentagon — was announced this evening on the Pentagon web ...

VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images
VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images
VYACHESLAV OSELEDKO/AFP/Getty Images

Mina Corp., the focus of a Kyrgyzstan criminal investigation into alleged corruption, has been awarded a new $315 million contract to deliver fuel to the U.S. air base in the Central Asian republic. The new contract -- on top of some $3 billion in previous contracts with the Pentagon -- was announced this evening on the Pentagon web site.

As this blog wrote earlier this week, the Kyrgyz and a congressional committee have investigated allegations of improper payments from Mina and a sister company called Red Star to ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who fled in April. Senior Kyrgyz officials have accused the United States of allowing corrupt payments to be funneled to Bakiyev in order to retain rights to Manas Air Base, which services Afghanistan.

Mina Corp., the focus of a Kyrgyzstan criminal investigation into alleged corruption, has been awarded a new $315 million contract to deliver fuel to the U.S. air base in the Central Asian republic. The new contract — on top of some $3 billion in previous contracts with the Pentagon — was announced this evening on the Pentagon web site.

As this blog wrote earlier this week, the Kyrgyz and a congressional committee have investigated allegations of improper payments from Mina and a sister company called Red Star to ousted President Kurmanbek Bakiyev, who fled in April. Senior Kyrgyz officials have accused the United States of allowing corrupt payments to be funneled to Bakiyev in order to retain rights to Manas Air Base, which services Afghanistan.

Mina itself appears to have no known office. Instead, as the Washington Post reported this week, its mailing addresses are mail drops, although one company official told the Post that Mina has 450 employees in undisclosed locations.

The fuel contracts have been a source of much tension between the United States and Kyrgyzstan. They partly led to Kyrgyz demands for the removal of U.S. Ambassador Tatiana Gfoeller, who is leaving the country before the end of her regular tour. The Pentagon reacted to criticism of past no-bid contracts awarded to Mina by putting the latest fuel contract out to competitive tender. Mina triumphed today over eight other bidders, according to the official anouncement.

<p> Steve LeVine is a contributing editor at Foreign Policy, a Schwartz Fellow at the New America Foundation, and author of The Oil and the Glory. </p>

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