2019 February 28
Anti-Corruption News: Feb/28/2019
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
The Higher court has ruled that Serj's brother Levon Sargsyan's arrest warrant is legal. The NSS says they know which country he is hiding in, but are currently unable to catch and extradite him.
Sargsyan, his son and daughter, were charged with illegal enrichment last year. An arrest warrant has been issued for him.
NSS confirms that 2 State Oversight Committee agents were arrested for abusing their power and helping a company to win dialysis equipment sales contracts.
The agents in question threatened hospitals with obstructions in the event they refused to allow the new medical company to win some of the contracts.
As a result, the hospitals had to reduce the medical equipment quality standards so the new company could compete. This has placed patient lives at risk.
The new medical company's chief is also arrested for his role in the process.
Two felony charges are pressed against the suspects.
SOC chief Sanasaryan has a different opinion of what happened. Says the incident should have been resolved with administrative warnings instead of an arrest, because he doesn't think it was an elaborate corruption scheme by the two agents.
He insists that the dialysis field had a monopoly issue. St. Gregory Illuminator hospital was only served by one medical equipment provider. After SOC's intervention, 9 companies participated in the contract auctions. The market was opened for the first time, says Sanasaryan.
He believes the powerful business interests played a role in manipulating the story, as in the case with Health Minister Torosyan when he became a target after busting a large subsidy corruption scheme in St. Gregory Illuminator hospital.
Sanasaryan disagrees with Vanadzor hospital chief that the agents' actions resulted in a deficiency of dialysis equipment. He disagrees with the hospital administration that the two existing equipment providers should always win the auctions due to quality standards, saying that other hospitals use other providers without quality problems.
(In other words, Sanasaryan believes some hospitals and equipment providers might have colluded to fix contracts in favor of specific providers. SOC agents allegedly tried to break it, and got accused of fixing the game. He doesn't know whether the agents colluded with a specific company. NSS believes the agents acted in a bad faith, and were doing a favor to the new medical company.)
NSS and the police have uncovered a corruption scheme by Geghadir's former mayor. He is accused of stealing 1.7mln in state funds
Serj's chief bodyguard Vachagan Ghazaryan has returned the funds he was accused of stealing, and doesn't possess a threat of obstructing the investigation. As a result, prosecutors have agreed not to challenge his 50mln bail release while the investigation continues. He was released from detention on December 30.
Minister of Territorial Development says the Iranian gas pipeline is currently supplying at less than half of its capacity. They can double the imports as part of a possible project to turn Armenia into a gas transit country between Iran and north.
The government plans to tax the soda beverages that contain gas. Mineral waters and alcohol will be exempt from this tax. Initially they planned to tax any drink that contained 5% or more sugar.
The goal is to collect taxes for the budget and to discourage the use of harmful sugary drinks.
Թան ռէսէփիյ: Fill 1/4th of the cup with plain yogurt. Add salt as desired. Mix it well until creamy. Fill the cup with water and mix for half a minute. Make sure to mix the yogurt before adding water to it! Enjoy your non-taxable drink. 👍
On February 2018 the Parliament passed a law making lawyers and prosecutors subject to judicial fines for offending the court as part of a case. The critics (QP, LHK and BHK) suggested it would put unnecessary speech limitations on defense lawyers during court cases.
QP and the chief prosecutor have proposed repealing the law.
Crimes committed by teenagers, and crimes committed against an individual, have decreased, says police chief Osipyan.
~9.5% of the prisoners who received an amnesty last year are back in jail.
Ministry of Agriculture will provide 1.5bln to subsidize the interest rate that agricultural processing farms pay. They'll be able to get loans with 3% interest rate, down from 9%.
Medical breakthrough. Erebuni hospital surgeons were able to identify a rare blockage in a patient's lungs and "bypass" it with two surgeries, after the patient spent 4 years traveling around the world seeking diagnosis.
Two US congressmen have condemned the 1988 Sumgayit massacres and deportations of Armenians. They called for the US government to officially recognize and condemn the events.
Russian FM says they did not send a delegation to Baku to participate in a anti-Armenian event. Several Duma members went to Baku as individuals.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/avy46g/anticorruption_news_feb282019/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|