2019 January 30
Anti-Corruption Jan/30/19: / Pashinyan is suing himself / 30% fixed bonuses / IRS bonus cut in half / bonus based on performance / March 1st military battalion chief says he was ordered to shoot at people / Crime stats / Mining ownership transparency / Constitutional Court / 160mln savings on cars
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
The former deputy governor of Lori province recalls the March 1st/2008 events during which he was in the military.
He recalls that his unit was removed from Vanadzor and brought to Yerevan, near the Orbeli-Baghramyan intersection, before Kocharyan had even declared the state of the emergency. He was the acting battalion commander at the time.
He says he was later fired for refusing to follow orders to fire towards the crowd. There were other penalties against him, including demotion from Major to Captain, and return of some of the salary. The court later turned down the latter two, and he was only discharged from the army.
He has spoken about this incident publicly on multiple occasions since 2012. He says some people are deliberately twisting his words to suggest the army never fired towards the crowd. He says it was his unit in particular that did not fire, under his orders. He is proud of not following the administration's order, says Aram Khachatryan.
PM Pashinyan says the bonus funds for IRS employees has been slashed in half for 2019. The bonus payments will been fixed at 30% of the salary for government departments, including the IRS.
He says salaries should be high to encourage better work. "Can we demand the police to do significantly more work at fighting corruption while still receiving a 120k salary?", said Pashinyan.
The employees and administration of Ministry of Finance had a salary rise of 10% since 2017.
Deputy PM Tigran Avinyan sees a need to rise government employee salaries to make it more competitive and to improve employee retention. Says many good government workers gain experience then quit to seek significantly higher paying private jobs.
Minister of Emergency says the salaries are overall too low for government workers. Their department had a difficulty hiring a quality programmer because the private sector pays them significantly more.
Nikol Pashinyan is suing himself in the European Court for Human Rights. (kek , well almost :)
After he was arrested following March 1st, 2008 protests, Pashinyan contacted ECHR and sued the Armenian government, claiming it was a political persecution and wrongful arrest, a violation of his Constitutional rights to protest.
ECHR has recently contacted the plaintiff Pashinyan, now the head of the government which is being sued, and asked for more info. Pashinyan has responded saying he doesn't seek monetary compensation from Armenia, and that he finds the ruling that will show he was wrongfully arrested as a fair compensation.
(Insert a YOU HAVE PLAYED YOURSELF! meme here)
Earlier we learned that murder rates went down and overall crime stats went up on 2018.
The police has released numbers, showing that the significant portion of the rise of general crime came from police filing and solving more corruption related crimes. Corruption busts are up by 2.5 times compared to 2017.
On 2017, the police uncovered criminal actions totaling 0.7 billion, while on 2018 it was 5.7 billion.
Increase in thefts also contributed to the rise of overall crime.
Police says 5% of inmates who were pardoned last year, are back in jail. The police chief says a similar trend was observed 10 years ago when another amnesty was issued. The year after the amnesty, the crime usually goes up, and the ones who intended to commit a crime go back to jail, but then it subsides down.
The police chief has instructed more monitoring of the newly released inmates. The department still believes that the occasional amnesty is the right thing to do.
A mass amnesty was issued last year on the 100th anniversary of the new republic and Yerevan's 2,800th anniversary.
Physical crime against humans went down, while property related crime went up on 2018.
Police spokesman says the public's trusts towards the law enforcement is high.
A significant portion of the crime reports on 2018 were either old incidents for which people are only now coming forward due to newly established trust (up 27%) , or incidents that are reported by people who are more confident that the department would do an appropriate job.
This could contribute to the impression that the crime is up, while these are incidents that otherwise would not have been reported in previous years.
The police says another factor that may contribute to the crime stats being negative is because prior to 2018, there were more incidents of dishonest cops hiding true crime statistics.
17 cops were charged with falsifying crime data to artificially boost their performance on 2017, while on 2018 only 3 such incidents took place.
Armenia has been rated as a safe country by Global Finance, on par with many European countries. It takes into account crime, war and natural disaster threats.
Iceland 1st, Georgia 49, Armenia 62, Azerbaijan 71.
Singer Mger Armenia has voluntarily registered as a taxpayer, and will file income taxes. The IRS had earlier warned the show-business stars that "they can no longer get away with hiding their income".
Pashinyan denies the possibility of giving land to Azerbaijan in exchange for peace, aka "Land For Peace".
Says his approach to Artsakh issue differs from what the previous administrations had. The short meetings with Aliyev have so far been non-official.
Update on Robert Kocharyan:
Kocharyan was earlier sent to jail by the Lower Court. The Higher Court then released him, saying he has immunity. The Cassations Court ruled Higher Court's verdict inaccurate citing the Constitution and that it doesn't provide a 100% immunity for some crimes, so the Higher Court sent Kocharyan back to jail.
Kocharyan then asked the Constitutional Court to rule that Cassations Court didn't have the right to deliberate on certain topics related to Constitution.
The Constitutional Court has just denied Kocharyan's claim, saying that Cassations Court and any other court can make judgements around a constitutionality of something, and that the Constitutional Court has a final say in it.
Armenian government is part of an international mining transparency initiative.
As part of this initiative, the data of mining owners will be submitted by the mining companies to a centralized database, for transparency.
A new law is being drafted, that is yet to be discussed by the PM's office then passed in Parliament, which will make hiding the mining ownership harder.
The proposed bill will prohibit the real mining company owner, the person who gets the profit, from hiding behind legal entities and various company names. The public will learn the actual names of individuals.
Deputy PM Avinyan says Armenia will have a more active participation in this mining transparency initiative, which it officially became a member of on 2017. That year the government published data of metal factory contract activities.
On 2018, the government published all contracts done with minerals extraction companies, which was confidential up until that point.
Avinyan says he is confident that the Parliament will pass the new bill that requires the real owners to be known.
Nature Protection Ministry says 10 mining and metal processing companies have lost their licenses for avoiding payments and violating contracts, 72 others were warned.
(Press F to do your job instead of taking a $10mln bribe to issue licenses.)
Speaker Ararat Mirzoyan says the Parliament will save 35mln/year from fuel usage cuts. Part of the funds will be used to provide bonuses to employees, who will receive it through a rating system, based on their performance.
Car cuts have begun. The government will save 160mln annually due to the cuts in padavat car fleet.
Manvel Grigoryan's lawyer did not seek criminal charges against protesters, after his car was egged by the protesters, who accused the lawyer of "being a sellout and using slurs against them". The lawyer and the protesters later met and shook hands. The police is no longer seeking criminal charges in the case.
Golden Baker company has opened a new factory in Armenia, that produces eastern-style bread and pastry. The manufacturer says the demand for Middle Eastern bread has increased by restaurants in recent times, for the consumption by the locals as well as Syrian-Lebanese-Armenian migrants.
The project includes 182mln in investments.
Dubai ACE company has decided to invest in Armenia to open a world famous "Dine Sky" restaurant-tourism center, and other tourism projects, citing an increase in tourists in Armenia and improvements in business conditions.
(President Sarkissian had a trip to UAE few weeks ago, where he invited companies to do business in Armenia. It's unclear whether it's related.)
All schools in Gegharquniq province will have engineering labs, where the students can learn to build things such as robots. 1,000 students from 38 schools are already enrolled in the project.
Earlier we learned that Russia and Georgia are talking about opening a new point of entry in their border. This would be great for Armenia because it would reduce reliance on the troublesome Lars road.
Russian deputy Foreign Minister Karasin was in Yerevan. He said Russia agrees with the project, and that they'll discuss it with Georgia on February.
Energy Ministries of Armenia and Iran have met. They discussed the construction of a new and third high volt electric line to deliver electricity from Armenia to Iran, a construction of a new hydro electric plant in Meghri-Armenia, and the expansion of the electricity-for-gas exchange.
They have agreed to increase the frequency of visits to speed up the process.
Defense Ministry has signed the agreement to purchase a fleet of modern SU-30SM Russian fighter jets. It is part of the latest $100mln loan, which Armenia took to purchase wide varieties of military equipment. It may take a year or more for the jets to be ready.
Special Investigation Service (SIS) has directly called out Joghovurd news outlet for spreading "fake news" about the agency under the name of "anonymous sources". In the latest piece, the paper wrote that there is a large discontent in the agency and more investigators are quitting.
SIS notes that on 2018, only 3 workers quit, all voluntarily. In previous years, up to 8 investigators would lose their job annually.
SIS calls this a deliberate attempt to picture the agency in a bad light and to harm its reputation in the eye of the public.
It was recently erroneously reported that SIS is hiring the former HHK MP Kostanyan as the deputy chief.
(Since the 2018 revolution, SIS has busted several high ranking politicians for various crimes. It closely cooperates with NSS in high profile cases.)
Russian authorities have closed down a Senate session and arrested Senator Rauf Arashukov. He is accused of being involved in 2 murder cases. He is detained for 2 months, the bail was denied.
His father was also arrested. He is accused of stealing gas worth 30 billion Rubles.
It is not clear whether this suspected gas theft is related to an incident that shook Russia last week. A Russian court denied a request by a local government from southern Russia to annul gas debt worth billions of rubles for locals. Politicians claimed that not annulling the debt will cause a public unrest among the locals.
The Russian opposition believes that the public from the region which accumulated the debt, did pay the dues, but the local politicians stole the gas funds, and now they are afraid that the public will protest, so they tried to cover up the missing funds by seeking a cancellation of debt.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/alikp1/anticorruption_jan3019_pashinyan_is_suing_himself/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|