2019 February 6
Anti-Corruption Feb/6/2019: \ Higher Court \ tax waivers \ gov to fund tech startups \ anti-corruption institutional reform proposal - all officials consent to offshore asset examinations \ Artsakh talks \ Sasna Tsrer details \ Public Services Regulatory Commission to investigate a pesticide giant \
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 the lower court verdict to arrest the former March investigator Vahagn Harutyunyan as invalid. The defense had complained that the Lower court made violations during the court hearing procedures.
The Higher court has instructed the Lower court to redo the trial.
The government has issued a temporary tax free status to Likvor pharmaceutical company so it can invest 7.6bln on drug producing materials and equipment. 13bln worth products will be produced annually, out of which 3bln will be consumed in Armenia.
Pashinyan asked why only 8 jobs with 75k salaries will be created. Minister said those are additional jobs, and the nature of the business doesn't allow for more expansion.
PM Pashinyan wants to examine the tax waiver deals from 2015 onward to see if the companies who received the deals has kept their promises to invest and create jobs.
There are talks about forming mechanisms for monitoring the future cases.
The government will create a venture capital to invest in startups to boost the tech sector and help them to sale products abroad.
PM's office expects the public to help them and the police with the corruption fight. Following proposals for institutional reforms have been made, and they'll work on it for the next several years:
-A new dedicated anti-corruption body which will have the legal means to conduct wide varieties of anti-corruption works.
-Reforms in the law to allow for easier offshore asset confiscation, and better cooperation with international bodies that will help to do so.
-Any candidate for a public office (or an existing politician) must consent through notary signature to allow anti-corruption authorities to search their offshore bank accounts/transactions under their name at any time, anywhere. Refusal would disqualify the person from holding high ranking positions.
-Expansion of the list of properties/assets that the officials must disclose before taking an office.
Yerevan municipality will build 175 ramps for disabled people to have access to various building and intersection sidewalks.
New pedestrian poles with audio guidance for the blind to be installed. Some buses will be equipped with audio notifications of upcoming stops.
Artsakh president's adviser Harutyunyan has rebuked former Artsakh defense minister Samvel Babayan's claims that the Artsakh president and Serj Sargsyan spoke about giving some lands to Azerbaijan on 2016.
He says a government that builds roads between the two countries and initiates projects to help people settle in those lands, doesn't seem like the type of government which plans to give those lands to anyone.
Denies that Serj pressured Artsakh government with an ultimatum.
Artsakh military figure and war veteran Vahan Badasyan insists Samvel Babayan was telling the truth.
He says: On July/16/2016, Serj gathered the Artsakh administration behind a closed doors meeting to have a discussion. His goal was to use the influential Artsakh figures to help calm the public and prepare them for land concessions, says Badasyan. Sasna Tsrer members (war vets) took the Yerevan police station as a hostage the next day, on July 17th.
Badasyan sees hypocrisy by some of the participants of the secret meeting, who now accuse Pashinyan of attempting to give lands to Azerbaijan.
Opinion piece: The death of the old Artsakh strategy. How Pashinyan has changed the subject from discussing which territories to give, to insisting to have Artsakh on the discussion table.
Police chief Valery Osipyan has been called to court to testify as a witness/victim in the Yerevan police station hostage takeover by Sasna Tsrer group. (The members who are accused of causing body injuries are still in prison).
Osipyan says: He received a call about a hostage takeover. Drove to the scene, saw ambulances and police, and was told to take cover. He heard Pavlik Manutyan's voice over the police walke-talkie, and realized the group took over the station and the equipment.
He spoke with Pavlik and offered him to surrender. Latter refused but agreed to let Osipyan inside to see the situation. Osipyan and one other cop went in. A short negotiations for surrender fell apart. Osipyan wanted to get the dead and wounded outside. Pavlik responded that there are no dead, and they have taken care of the injured ones already.
While he was trying to leave, one of members noticed that Osipyan had a radio unit, and tried to take it away from him. Osipyan resisted and they threatened to shoot him; several of them beat him with the guns. He surrendered the radio unit to the group, but he did keep a cell phone.
They took him inside, where he saw group member Varujan Avetisyan on front of computers. He asked Avetisyan what he was up to, and the latter complained that they are fed up with the Serj regime. There were 8 other handcuffed police officers inside. Osipyan convinced the group to remove the handcuffs from all officers.
He was taken outside and given a loud speaker, and under the threats of being shot, he was instructed to tell the rest of the cops to lay down the weapons and join the resistance. He refused to do so, but told the cops not to shoot towards the group.
Osipyan received a call from outside. He was asked to check on officer Vanoyan Arthur, who was supposed to be at the station that day. Osipyan asked Pavlik to allow him to go to Vanoyan's office. On the way to office, Osipyan saw bullet holes on the walls and stains of blood.
As he moved inside the office, he noticed blood and scattered objects everywhere. He eventually found the dead body of Arthur Vanoyan, covered with a blanket. Osipyan got mad and started pushing Pavlik around. Pavlik said he doesn't know who Vanoyan is and how the body ended up there.
Pavilk then tried to calm Osipyan and asked him not to tell anyone about the dead body yet, but Osipyan called the outside police station and told them that Vanoyan Arthur is dead.
The group decided to pay a tribute to the dead police officer, by shooting in the air military-style. They gave a weapon to Osipyan too so he could join. During the court, Pavlik rhetorically asked Osipyan why he didn't use the opportunity to use the loaded gun to shoot the hostage takers, if he (Osipyan) thinks the group were traitors. Ospiyan said it was just a show by the group.
After spending few more days there, Osipyan was exchanged with a journalist. Now having access to media, the group demanded president Serj to resign and free their friends, including Jirayr Sefilian. (this was also the time when Nikol Pashinyan went to the station as a negotiator)
During the trial, Osipyan testified that the first shot during the shootout was fired by the hostage takers, and not from the police humvee.
While being kept as a hostage, Osipyan says one of the group members told him that before taking the hostages, the group initially planned to break into Osipyan's private residence and kidnap him, with the intention of using him as a hostage to convince the police station staff to let them in without a resistance.
Valery Osipyan, as a victim of the incident, has refused to allow the 2018 mass amnesty to apply to any of the Sasna Tsrer members, because he lost two of his friends and colleagues during the incident.
An Azeri citizen Rashad Alizadeh has contacted the Artsakh Republic's Foreign Ministry and asked for an Artsakh passport.
The government is cooperating with Asian Development Bank to make seismic retrofits in schools.
6 of them will be destroyed in the near future, some of them completely. The new ones must withstand 9 magnitude earthquake, said Pashinyan. 40 other schools will be retrofitted as part of the project.
$80mln funds are ready. PM complained that the work is done too slowly. Minister responded that the government has to co-finance the projects, which adds time to it.
Public Services Regulatory Commission...
will investigate Natali Farm pesticides importing giant for raising the prices for farmers by 24%, while the importing costs rose only by 10%. The company holds 44% of the market.
has issued a warning to Gazprom-Armenia for submitting a required report 3 days later than the deadline.
Veolia Water was fined 10mln for violating the agreements.
Armenia has 7 judges per 100,000 citizens. The accepted standard is 21. Some judges have 3,500 cases pending in their backlog.
Justice Ministry has asked PM to consider increasing the number of judges, and implementing alternative (possibly arbitration) courts for certain types of cases, to ease the burden caused by smaller cases on the court system.
Armenians spend $339mln on cigarettes annually. 1.6bln packs produced in Armenia, 1.3bln exported, 0.2bln imported.
Over 1mln packs are smoked per day.
French president Macron has declared April 24th a commemoration day for the Armenian Genocide.
Macron paid tribute to late Charles Aznavoir. Aznavour's son gave duduk as a gift to Macron.
President Sarkissian was in France. He met with Dassault Group representatives about investments in Armenia. The latter agreed to pay a work visit on April. The company is specialized in military, space and logistics services.
Yerevan State College of Light Industry has signed a cooperation agreement with Alex Textile factory to begin training the students and prepare them as skilled workforce. The company has agreed to renovate the college building and supply it with modern equipment.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/anxvlv/anticorruption_feb62019_higher_court_tax_waivers/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|