2019 April 8
Anti-Corruption Apr/8/2019: Employment up.... A mayor charged..... SPAYKA CEO arrested, story explained..... Massive scandal after LGBT activist speaks in Parliament; who did what?...... Former military-police chief's son..... Yerevan municipality staff and illegal land sales...... a lot more below
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
Serj-linked SPAYKA import-export giant was caught with under-paying 2bln in taxes last year. Last week, audits for later years showed that they avoided 7bln in taxes by falsifying imported item information at the border, says IRS, which cooperated with foreign nations to get the true value of the products that SPAYKA declared in those countries before reaching the Armenian border.
The court has approved a 2-month arrest warrant for the CEO of the firm. The employees from across the country, worried about their jobs and the firm's future, protested on front of the court house, demanding the judge to free the CEO. They briefly shut down a street. One supporter was arrested for assaulting a police officer.
IRS urged the CEO and his supporters not to manipulate the facts and the public.
The firm's representative, leading the protests, asked PM Pashinyan to intervene and free and CEO. "We only trust Pashinyan, he should give us assurances that the CEO will be freed", said the representative. Pashinyan's spokesman said PM doesn't have the authority and cannot meddle in the court's business. The representative thanked the PM nonetheless and apologized "for all the disturbances", and agreed to wait for the lawyers to do their job. The lawyers will offer bail money to release the CEO. The employees went home.
Opinion piece: Another import-export business CEO says he knows what the SPAYKA CEO was up to. He says it's related to reselling Turkish tomatoes to Russia.
When Turkey shut down a Russian jet on 2015, Russia banned Turkish tomatoes. SPAYKA took advantage. They bought Turkish tomatoes labeled Georgia as a destination (because sales to Armenia is banned), imported them to Armenia through Georgia. Once in Armenia, they changed the tomato labels to "Made in Armenia", then exported them to Russia. Some of these Turkish tomatoes were consumed in Armenia. It's presumed that a law(s) was broken during this process.
Robert Kocharyan's supporters will also stage a protest outside of the court house tomorrow. 2 months are gone, which means the prosecutors have to present the court again why they believe Rob should stay behind the bars. 2 months ago the judge agreed that if freed, he can "meddle" in the case. He's been jailed since December 7th. Rob's office manager urged the supporters to cancel the protests "in order not to pressure the court."
The prosecutors have launched an investigation against Yerevan municipality staff for selling city's lands for significantly below-market prices on 2008, say prosecutors. Davtashen district managers sold a piece of land for 28mln, which was 18mln below the market value. Only a month later, they decided to purchase 40% of that land back for 20mln, but later canceled the plans. 18mln damage was done to state.
Argavand mayor is charged with causing 61mln in damages to the state for breaking land privatization laws.
Levon Yeranosyan is the former military police chief who is currently facing charges for illegal use of riot weapons against protesters on 2018.
Today the investigators opened a case against his son an son-in-law for allegedly beating a neighbor at the request of Yeranosyan.
An anti-QP churchman, anti-QP activists, anti-Roboserj activists and anti-LGBT activists were protesting the transgender person's speech in BHK-led Parliamentary session. (It only took 1 tranny to unite everyone)
Some of them have suggested that LGBT will destroy the country if they continue to receive such access. The churchman, who was not sent by the church and was protesting as an individual, wanted to go inside the Parliament building to cleans it from demons, but got his access denied. He was upset and briefly closed the nearby street and demanded to speak with QP Alen Simonyan.
The churchman demanded QP to jail LGBT members for 4 years, and said "Armenia will never be a secular country". QP Alen Simonyan responded saying the Bible cannot be literally implemented as a law by the Parliament. The churchman demanded Alen Simonyan to resign. 🍿 https://youtu.be/W8ZlCkiOknk?t=123
QP Alen Simonyan presented a document showing that BHK Naira Zohrabyan invited the activists. The document has the list of groups, one of which was the LGBT group, which received a special invitation at the recommendation of Human Rights Ombudsman's office https://youtu.be/SKU5k0cq0Tk?t=32
BHK was also confronted by some of the activists for allowing the LGBT to speak during their session. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mDA1RUUwO_0
Anti-Roboserj activists reminded that Robert Kocharyan removed the law that criminalized homosexuality. Serj's government not only allowed LGBT prostitutes to open sell their bodies in one of the parks, but some of the Serj regime members were spotted by journalists in those parks, picking up prostitutes, said the activist. The activists condemned HHK Edward Shawarmazanov for trying to use the opportunity to manipulate the public to incite hatred towards Pashinyan.
The anti-LGBT protesters even fought against each other, after they didn't like that one of the participants had a haircut with a hair gel. "It's gay", concluded the activists.
In the end, the protesters cleaned up the trash from the streets before leaving the area. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRvOfzHODTE
BHK Naira Zohrabyan blamed the speech on a specific QP MP, a session reviewer, for inviting the activists. The QP MP accused Naira of lying, saying that QP did not approve the April 5th session during the discussion on March, and that it was cancelled. Only 2 days before the session day, a new agenda was added, but the QP committee didn't have time to review it. The session was approved without QP knowing its full content, says QP MP. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=96rFyo762u4
Moreover, QP MP blamed BHK Zohrabyan (the chief of that session) of deliberately hiding the full list of the guests. In other words, BHK knew who was supposed to speak (as already shown in the document published by Alen Simonyan). The QP MP also presented a paper which showed the full list of the guests that day, which were 47 public organizations, and that none of them were reviewed and approved by QP MP. Here is the document showing BHK's invitation of the transgender activist http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/158531
A BHK MP accused the QP MP of trying to harm BHK's reputation. The QP MP responded saying that BHK has no right to talk about reputation because their MP (Gago's bodyguard) was just convicted and sentenced to 3.5 years for beating up a man, and he is still an MP.
QP Alen Simonyan said it isn't any specific party's fault, even BHK Naira Zohrabyan shouldn't be blamed, because the session led by BHK was about human rights, and numerous organizations submitted a petition to participate to the Parliamentary Human Rights hearing. Only 2 QP members were present that day in the Parliament, and it wasn't a regular Parliamentary session but rather a committee hearing, added Alen Somonyan.
BHK chief Dodi Gago said transgenderism is a flaw that has been "kept in the shadows", and "we will continue to do so". Let them protect their rights, but BHK will not pass any pro-LGBT laws, responded Gago to one of the journalists. He also praised session leader Naira Zohrabyan for getting mad at the activist for the "out of topic speech".
https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158520 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158499 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158505 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/158501 ---- https://youtu.be/gFq9YOK74eA?t=14
During the first hearing, the Parliament unanimously voted in favor of the law that requires gas stations to sell fuel to ordinary buyers by weight instead of cubic-feet. This is needed to prevent the gas stations from manipulating the true cost of the product through heat-caused gas expansion.
The law must be passed again tomorrow before being sent to president Sarkissian's desk.
Parliament also voted in favor of the bill to declare the last Saturday of April as "Citizen's Day". AYE 92, NAY 3, MEH 5. Second hearing is tomorrow.
The number of employed people rose by 10% on January 2019 vs January 2018. Private sector rose 15.8% while public sector by 0.7%. Considering the fact that the population has remained the safe, is it safe to say the unemployment went down?
This graph also shows a similar trend, with the labor participation going up.
Unemployment down by 2% since March-2018.
Teghut mine is about to resume its operations after it was shut down on the January of 2018. Around 800 of its 1200 workers could be employed within the next 2 months.
Transport & Communications Minister about the progress in the field:
They ended the 2018 with 60% more road works than projected. All the construction auctions are now transparent and have a competition. A new electronic platform was implemented to monitor the quality of the road construction and service. Bad quality road repairs were not paid for on 2018. A new digital map of the roadways is being worked on.
A gov-funded road repair related organization was shut down and merged with the Ministry. 75% reduction of administrative overhead, 55% expenditure cuts, 30% service car cuts, the lab that checks the road quality now has an equipment from Europe that checks the quality of the asphalt.
Pashinyan repeated that Artsakh should be a direct participnt of the negotiations, and that peace cannot be achieved only if two of the participants want it, the third one should also seek peace (referring to AZ). "Artsakh's participation has been within the existing format of the negotiations since 1998, mediated by OSCE".
PM has doubts about the Madrid Principles and couldn't find the necessary answers during the recent Aliyev meeting in Vienna. He says the Madrid Principles are too loosely defined and they turn the negotiations into a joke because each side can interpret it their own way.
PM said that any outcome has to be acceptable for all sides, and that threats of war are unnecessary and don't solve any problems.
Defense Minister Tonoyan: Azerbaijan's military commanders should prepare their army for peace.
Health Ministry's helicopter is ready. It'll transport patients who have a serious health problem to Yerevan in shorter times. Driving from Kapan to Yerevan is over 10 hours, while the heli needs about 2 hours. Armenia becomes the first country in the region to have a ministry-run government-subsidized medical flights. The patients don't pay anything. If someone doesn't qualify for it but still wishes to fly, it'll cost 700k/hour.
The first patient was a 13 year old boy who had a car accident in a province and needed a transfer.
During her Boston trip, First Lady Anna Hakobyan raised 73mln for the City of Smile foundation which provides cancer treatment to children.
Matenadaran museum will become free for everyone on the last Saturday of each month. It'll always be free for students with special needs, veterans, families of fallen soldiers, soldiers , seniors, kids under 6yo.
During Horasis international economic forum (which could be held in Armenia next year) President Sarkissian met Indian tech giant Hinduja Group founder and invited him to Armenia. The latter is interested in tech programs.
Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan was in an Africa trip. Went to Rwanda, paid respect to Rwandan genocide victims, met the country's tech leaders and Smart Africa group (25 nations participate), and signed a memorandum between the two nations to strengthen tech investments.
Armenia sent thousands of beds and materials to Iran as part of the aid for the victims of the recent Iranian floods.
The first church is opened in the Iraqi Kurdistan's capital Irbil.
Weightlifter Isabella Saylyan won silver in the European 2019 championship.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/baypuv/anticorruption_apr82019_employment_up_a_mayor/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|