2019 June 27
Anti-Corruption & News - Jun/27/2019: Free healthcare for 200,000 more; Other changes... Constitutional Court judges.... Serj's fugitive relative vs Ministry.... Government tax waivers.... Minimum wage.... Exports up again after slow Spring.... Weapons... Murder case: ARM vs AZE in PACE..... more
Disclaimer: All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law, even if they may sound as being guilty. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
The Constitutional Court judges have made a decision not to allow the newly elect judge Vahe Grigoryan to participate in hearings regarding Robert Kocharyan. The decision is based on the fact that lawyer Grigoryan was formerly hired by the victims of March 1st events, thus could possibly show bias in Kocharyan related cases, says the Constitutional Court with a straight face.
Former MP, legal analyst and the brother of March 1st victim lawyer Styopa Safaryan says there are multiple judges who are biased and should not be allowed to hear the Kocharyan case. He lists the judges and their "history".
Chief judge Hrayr Tovmasyan
Was elected in 2018-March-21 by violation of laws. He was a member of HHK party at the time of his appointment, a party which has direct involvement with the March 1st case and the "illegal appropriation of the powers".
He was also the Justice Minister between 2010-2014 , and purposely gave incomplete information to European Court for Human Rights (ECHR) to defend the Kocharyan administration in the March 1st related hearings, says Safaryan.
Judge Alvina Gyulumyan
Was appointed to the Constitutional Court in 2014. Between 2003-2014, she served as a judge appointed by Armenia to ECHR. She used her position to defend the former regimes instead of serving justice in March 1st related cases, says Safaryan.
Judge Araik Tunyan
Served as the head of the Legal Department in Kocharyan's cabinet, between 2005-2007, then until 2014 in a similar job. He was involved with the legal process regarding the infamous "Order 0038" and other March 1st events. His favors were the reason for his appointment as a Constitutional Court judge.
Judge Felix Tokhyan
Has been a member since 1997-Sep-23. Participated in several scandalous hearings about presidential election result validity, including the one in 2008 challenged by Levon Ter-Petrosyan. This is also the one in which Kocharyan's aide Armen Grigoryan, according to US diplomatic cables, was threatening Constitutional Court judges to vote in favor of Serj's election as a president.
Judge Hrant Nazaryan
Is a member since 1996 February 5th. Also participated in the infamous 2008 Constitutional Court hearing in which the judges were pressured by Kocharyan's regime.
Judge Arevik Petrosyan
Was appointed in 2010. Since 2007, including as of 2008 March 1st, she was an aide to HHK Parliament's president, member of BHK party.
Judge Ashot Khachatryan
Was appointed in 2010. Between 2004-2010, he held the position of the head of the Legal Department of Parliament. He was involved with legal decisions regarding the March 1st case.
Safaryan believes that as of right now, judge Armen Dinaliyan is the only judge who is qualified to participate in Kocharyan related hearings, if we take into account March 1st "Kocharyan involvement" by other judges. 7 judges are necessary to make serious verdicts.
Read the Jun/24/2019 edition for more details on how the Constitutional Court judges were pressured in 2008.
Serj's fugitive relative Ara Minasyan, a suspect in the embezzlement in St. Gregory Illuminator hospital, was fired from the position of the director last year, after the NSS and Ministry of Healthcare uncovered the massive fraud involving fake patient invoices and subsidized care fraud. The director then remotely sued the Ministry to demand his job title back. Today, the court ruled against his petition, thus finding Ministry's decision to fire him to be justified.
Armenia and Russia are negotiating on creating a gas price strategy for the next 5 years. Gazprom's Armenian branch is currently absorbing the entire cost of $15 gas price increase at the border. Armenia is not accumulating it as a debt.
Because of this, Gazprom-Armenia could end up laying off 1,000 workers within the next 5 years to balance the spending.
The government held a session today...
They approved a plan to raise the healthcare expenditure by 12bln. This will also make sure that the funds won't expire before the end of the year, promoting low income citizens to wait until next year to be able to get a free care.
Healthcare in hospitals will be free for everyone under the age of 18, if passed by Parliament. As of right now, it is free for those under 7, and those under 18 who have disabilities. This expansion will apply to 200,000 additional children. Cancer treatment procedures with expensive equipment will also be free.
Additional 5.1bln will be spent on a free Healthcare for low income or disabled people. Dozens of people will receive free kidney and bone marrow transplant surgeries.
Extra 500mln will be spent to increase the number of ambulances across the country. Workers have long complained about being over-burdened. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980036.html
The government has approved the QP's proposed bill that could raise the minimum wage by 1/4th, to AMD 68k. This will affect 45,000 private and 35,000 public workers.
Pashinyan wants an additional clause in the bill to prevent the employer from manipulating something about job hours to avoid some responsibilities. It'll be discussed in the Parliament, which has to approve it for it to become law.
The minimum wage raise was being discussed for the past 3 months. The government used 4 methods to examine the economy and calculate that 68k is the needed number. Details on how:
"Կիրառվել է սոցիալ-ներառական նվազագույն աշխատավարձի մեթոդը, որն ասում է, որ Հայաստանում, որպեսզի միջին աշխատողների թվով և միջին անդամների թվով ընտանիքը գտնվի աղքատության ստորին, միջին և վերին գծերից վերև, պետք է նվազագույն աշխատավարձը լինի 67 հազար 660 դրամ: Երկրորդ մեթոդը, որ կիրառել ենք, դա ընտրված 23 երկրների նվազագույն աշխատավարձի և մեկ շնչին բաժին ընկնող ՀՆԱ-ի հարաբերակցության եղանակով հաշվարկն է, որով մենք ստացել ենք 64 հազար 600 դրամ: Նվազագույն աշխատավարձի և միջին աշխատավարձի հարաբերության եղանակով ստացել ենք 70 հազար 142 դրամ, և 2019 թվականի ապրիլ-մայիսին մենք հարցում ենք իրականացրել շուրջ 1580 գործատուների մոտ. իրենց առաջադրած միջին մեծությունը՝ 70 հազար 254 դրամ էր: Մենք այս թվերից վերցրել ենք նվազագույն աշխատավարձի միջին թիվ՝ 68 հազար դրամ: Եվ մենք առաջարկում ենք, որպեսզի նախագծին ոչ թե 63 հազար դրամով դրական կարծիք տանք, այլ 68 հազար դրամով"
PM Pashinyan noted that the practice of eliminating some taxes for businesses for several years, is a great way to encourage investments 💡. He compared 1H19 vs 1H18: investments rose 7 times ($254mln this year so far), 4 times as many jobs were created (2380).
These numbers are only about the explicitly government-approved tax waivers and their direct impact.
The exports are up again, after falling in the winter and early spring. The 1H19 vs 1H18 exports have now balanced and remained the same, despite some troubles with mining companies. Pashinyan said they expect to finish this year with a significant growth. 15% rise in exports this month (or possibly May) compared to last year.
Tech-exports rose 29% but are still relatively small portion of all exports.
Vegetable and animal product exports in May rose by 77% vs last year period. Tomato exports up 171%. Strawberry exports up 10 times. Cucumber exports up by 5 times. Fresh fish exports up 61%.
The non-mining industrial production rose 6% from the beginning of this year. Processed gold exports rose 86%. Chocolate export rose 33%.
They waived taxes for Manukyan cognac factory to invested 1.3bln and create 42 new jobs with 260k ($540) avg salary. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164903
They waived taxes for Qanaqer fabric factory so it can invest something to create an addition 12 jobs with 130k avg salary, to produce 753mln worth fabric per year. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980071.html
They waived taxes for Royal Glass Group so it can bring 250mln worth equipment for agricultural gardens. 25 new jobs with 115k avg salary, 860mln/year production mostly for exports. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164906
Ministry of Labor official says the wage gap between men and women is 33%, and it's mostly due to the job choices and not a gender discrimination. He said the private sector is more likely to discriminate based on gender. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/979977.html
During Army-2019 Russian expo show, Defense Minister Tonoyan said they will soon sign multiple agreements to purchase new offensive weapons and ammo. More details later. Delivery in early 2020.
Armenia presented its weapons during the show. For example, a modified SAM Igla missile unit which offloads the weight from the soldier's shoulder, has a new drone jamming technology, etc.
Shirak police reports that crime committed by people under 18 is cut in half, compared to last year. They claim it's due to better understanding why teens commit crimes, reforms and punishing some bad cops for not doing their work. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164888
Actor comic Mikhail Galustyan will visit Armenia as part of the push by Armenian-Russian stars to promote tourism. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/164895
Wanderlust recommends tourists to see the following sights: Yeghegnadzor (never been there), Jermuk (never been there), Dilijan (never been there), Mt. Aragats (never been there), Geghard (mandatory, been there), Tatev (never been there), Sevan Lake (bruh).
Armenia and Malta have agreed to sign an agreement to prevent double taxation, and to establish direct flights. Maltese delegate said they spent the whole day to fly to Armenia, while it could take only 4 hours if there was an air connection. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/980088.html
Judoist Susanna Stepanyan is the champion of European youth competition. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/164966
Armenian delegation in PACE: We suspect that the members of Azerbaijan's ruling family had something to do with the murder of Maltese investigative journalist Daphne Caruana. Not only Azerbaijan persecutes its own journalists, but goes after others overseas.
Caruana was assassinated in 2017 after an explosion. She was an investigative journalist investigating a corruption scandal involving Maltese government, and in one instance the Azeri government.
Some of it was about money laundering, and oil smuggling through Malta. Turkish president Erodgan's son, with the help of Azeri oil oligarchs, was also caught helping to smuggle ISIS's stolen oil through Malta.
NPR: Who Ordered The Car Bomb That Killed Maltese Journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia?
"Caruana Galicia asked uncomfortable questions about alleged fuel smuggling, organized crime and the sale of Maltese passports, which allow free movement through the EU."
Daphne Anne Caruana Galizia was a Maltese journalist, writer, and anti-corruption activist, who reported on political events in Malta. In particular, she focused on investigative reporting into government corruption, nepotism, patronage, allegations of money laundering, links between Malta's online gambling industry and organized crime, Malta's citizenship-by-investment scheme, and payments from the government of Azerbaijan.
PACE wants to investigate her murder.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/c6a31a/anticorruption_news_jun272019_free_healthcare_for/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|