2019 April 18
Anti-Corruption & Main - Apr/18/2019: NSS charges SOC chief..... SIS raids Panama Paper suspect..... IRS vs gas stations..... Water companies busted with 2bln abuse.... Aid worker & school director charged...... New agency to help large investors..... Tax waivers..... Press freedom improved....
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
NSS has pressed one felony abuse of power or negligence charge against the SOC chief David Sanasaryan. NSS says he knew about the case in which two SOC workers deliberately helped a dialysis medical company to win a purchase license with hospitals, but he failed to act to stop the abuse by his subordinates. Sanasaryan is told not to leave the country. NSS has asked Pashinyan to suspend him from the position. The investigation continues.
ArmTimes and few outlets say Pastinfo and few other outlets circulated incorrect information speculating that Pashinyan rejected to fire Sanasaryan. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/159440
SOC agency was created by PM Pashinyan after the revolution, to audit state-funded agencies, and has since made numerous high profile busts resulting in billions being returned to state. David Sanasaryan was appointed as its chief last year.
The SIS is raiding Panama Paperboy HHK Mihran Pogohsyan's former office/residence. There is an arrest warrant for him after the prosecution found that he used his offshore firm and his official powers to enrich himself, and few other felony accusations.
SOC says they discovered 2bln in damages done by two water regulating companies in Ejmiatsin and Armavir. The audits were for 2014-2018 years.
Syunik governor office's social aid worker in Sisian is charged with bribery. He is accused of taking money from aid applicants to "make sure they qualify for aid". He took the bribes also from people who did qualify for aid, but lied to them and said they don't, then asked for a bribe to help them register. This lasted between 2009-2017.
On another occasion, he colluded with Haypost worker to receive the bribe from an aid recipient.
Haypost worker won't face felony charges due to the 2018 mass amnesty, but the social aid worker will face several felony counts.
Gyumri school 38 former director is facing felony charges for stealing over 3mln by registering his relatives as workers, who never went to work but received salaries, says the police.
Gaj Inc. says Gago Tsarukyan's cement company is trying to abuse its powers to push them and other local competitors out of market.
They say at first Gago managed to convince the government to tax the Iranian cement imports to end the Iranian competition, and now Gago wants the government to tax the cement raw ingredients to push the local competitors out. To achieve this, Gago is using a political blackmail, says the competitor.
The firm says they are willing to negotiate with Gago so he can buy the cement ingredient materials from them, instead of importing from Iran.
Construction firms are also against the Iranian cement tariffs. They say Iranian stuff is already expensive because by the time it's transported from the border, the time and temperature control naturally raises the cement price.
Gago met Pashinyan today. They were discussing the cement and possibly other topics.
Yerevan mayor Marutyan participated in the government session. He said Sanitek garbage collector has no money to buy more trucks. When a truck fails, the whole district loses its services. The city wants to purchase 24 new trucks ASAP to run its own garbage collection.
The government approved the plan to purchase 15 trucks and to establish a competition to Sanitek.
Yerevan municipality's opposition Luys members continue to insist the municipality should not buy all the trucks from Russian Kamaz. Opposition leader Khajakyan, without evidence, accused the city administration of giving Russian Kamaz an illegal preferential treatment.
Yerevan municipality said: They sent an auction notification to 20 garbage truck companies. The decision to buy all the trucks from Kamaz is lawful and will save the city 175mln, and the trucks meet the eco-friendly standards regulated by EAEU.
Opposition accused the municipality of making it harder for some companies to compete. Administration says the standards aren't an artificial barrier; the city's terrain requires the truck's engine to meet specific power threshold so it can operate properly on hills, which is why the standards were placed high and Kamaz was chosen instead of Maz.
Update: The government earlier passed the decision to establish a law to require the real mining owners to be known. Today, they send the proposal to Parliament so it can begin the discussions.
The government has agreed to create a new organization called Armenian State Fund of Interests. It will help companies that want to make investments above 4.8bln ($10mln) to materialize their plans.
The government has approved a subsidy plan to renovate the main square and its surrounding buildings in Vanadzor city. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/159391
The government gave tax waivers to two firms. First one will import tech products to produce medication. Total of 4.2bln investments. Dozen jobs with 160k avg salary.
The second firm will import tech to produce gloves. 662mln in new investments. 40 new jobs with 90k avg salary.
Pashinyan was mad again, this time at gas stations, after receiving many reports that they still openly refuse to print sales receipts, which would show their true income to IRS. He asked the police and IRS why they don't investigate and issue more fines based on the reports.
Parliament also held a session. They approved the plan to cut the ministries from 17 to 12 during the first hearing. It'll be voted again tomorrow. Aye 71 nay 40. BHK and LHK voted against.
LHK and BHK are unhappy with Finance Minister Janjughazyan for apparently not answering some of their questions and not being present during the session. They pushed a bill to ask the PM to discuss the Minister's possible termination. QP voted against, saying this process is too rushed and the Parliament can't properly discuss if there are valid reasons for the Minister to resign, during one session.
Finance Minister was in the government session instead, and said he finds the LHK's circlejerk against him unacceptable, and that legally he wasn't required to be present during today's Parliament session.
Pashinyan said if the LHK found the Minister's presence critical, all parties should perhaps work together on rules to assure the government sends at least one relevant representative for each Parliament session.
(LHK leader Maruqyan was earlier upset because he had a question for the Minister but the latter wasn't present.)
Armenia moved up 19 positions in the Reporters Without Borders global freedom of press ranking, and is on the 61st position. Press restriction index was also lowered.
This is despite the fact that Roboserj media has vigorously attempted to portray several police-media interactions as suppression of speech on 2018.
Georgia 60, Armenia 61, Russia 149, Turkey 157, Somalia 164, Azerbaijan 166 (not neighbors anymore 😢)
4,000 Turkish millionaires left the country on 2018. 17,000 left since 2014.
IRS is monitoring 71 gas stations to make sure they don't scam the buyers through gas pressure manipulations. 4 gas stations were caught, investigations are launched. Soon, the new law requiring gas to be sold by weight will go into effect.
Update: Yerevan municipality earlier promised to make children's school and kindergarten registrations process more transparent and easy. The new online registration website for kindergarten has been launched. The parents can find out how long the kid has to wait, where the empty spots are, and register without the risk of having to pay a bribe to a director like it was done in past. The school registrations website will be launched on May.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/beq0bo/anticorruption_main_apr182019_nss_charges_soc/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|