2019 March 14

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption Mar/14/2019: DAY-2 Cafes nearby Opera --- Municipalities begun collecting and disclosing more funds --- ECHR vs 2007 Armenia --- Previous officials falsified a document to steal funds dedicated to April 2016 battle victim family --- more below...
by ar_david_hh

All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.

This is what you get when mayors do their job:

For Jan-Feb-2019, Municipalities in Kotayk province have completed the collection of funds with 37% above the expected limits, which is 35% above the 2018 mark for the same period.

The funds from the main 5 forms of taxation have doubled, compared to Jan-Feb-2018.


As you know, Yerevan municipality is removing 5 cafes which were, for unknown reasons, given the right to be built on the green zone on front of the Opera building, by the previous government, to the previous government's oligarchs, for suspiciously low prices.

The new administration gave them 3 months to vacate voluntarily, but the cafes refused. City decided to remove it themselves. Several dozen employees protested.

Today, Jazve Cafe owners agreed to voluntarily remove the property. The Cafe is fully or partially owned by Serj's son-in-law. Another one of the cafes, belonging to the former NSS chief, is being removed today. Another Cafe called Rich, belonging to former oligarch Lfik Samo, was voluntarily vacated yesterday.

The removal of two cafes is being discussed in court.

Today things got heated again when the municipality returned to continue the removal process. Café staff poured benzine on the property. Firefighters had to pour water to prevent a fire.

19 people were briefly detained during a protest which involved a road closure. Two policemen and a few protesters and a BHK MP (not a protester) were injured during the process.

Political activist and former regimes' critic Vardges Gaspari, who recently won a human rights lawsuit against the previous regime in a European court, was present at the scene and was supporting the police officers and the municipality's removal crews. The café staff/supporters punched Gaspari and broke his glasses, after taking his placard which was in support of the municipality. Gaspari says the café staff were being rude to elderly and trying to create a fight with the supporters of the municipality (two crowds were gathered, one in support of municipality and one consisted of café supporters).

The second crowd gathered to support the cafe's removal process. People were helping the policemen to prevent the café owners from barricading the street with garbage cans. Mayor Marutyan has thanked the public for their support.

Municipality representative says the café protests are coordinated, but didn't say by whom.

The city set up an employment booth so the Cafe workers could approach and seek help with finding a new job. Several unrelated café owners were present at the scene and offered the affected workers a new job, but none of them wanted a job. One such employer was cursed and told to leave by the cafe staff, after offering jobs to dozens of people at his own location.

Mayor Marutyan has vowed to continue the removal of cafes and to restore the green zone, which was part of his platform when he ran for mayor. He plans to launch an open competition to have architects submit their ideas on how the green area should look like.

VIDEO from above https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eYUDiKQfakY


https://armtimes.com/hy/article/156667 - - - https://armtimes.com/hy/article/156636 - - - https://armtimes.com/hy/article/156651 - - - https://armtimes.com/hy/article/156661 - - - https://armenpress.am/arm/news/967566.html - - - https://factor.am/132607.html - - - http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/266458 --- http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/266440 - - - http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/266441

European Court for Human Rights has made another $12,000 ruling against the Kocharyan regime and the courts.

On 2007, the government decided to seize lands belonging to the plaintiffs in Lori. The land was given to Teghut Corporation.

Teghut offered the plaintiff to pay for the land at the market value + 15%. The plaintiff refused, calling it too little.

Teghut took the plaintiff to Lower court, citing the fact that the government decided that the land should be given to Teghut. The court sided with Teghut and ordered the [EHCR] plaintiff to accept the Teghut's offer.

Plaintiff challenged the verdict in Higher court, saying the Lower court violated protocols and that the compensation amount was too little. This time, the Higher court sided with plaintiff, telling the Lower court to independently examine the cost of the land, which wasn't done earlier.

Lower court begins a property price assessment. It concludes that Teghut was offering a fair price to plaintiffs.

Plaintiff challenges it in Higher court, but this time it preserves the Lower court verdict.

Plaitiff takes it to Cassations court, but it refuses to hear the case.


ECHR has ruled that the legal system didn't take into account whether the money offered to plaintiff would be enough to compensate for all the things that the plaintiff would lose as a result of the sale. Plaintiff was making a living for his family through that land. The government or Teghut should have compensated for the lost wages, besides the land value itself.


Former regime's official from Lori allegedly stole [small] funds from a family of a soldier who died during the April 2016 battles, says the Lori governor.

A criminal investigation is launched after audits reveal that officials falsified soldiers' family signature to pay them less than what they were supposed to receive.


Stay classy 👌

PM Pashinyan and the Ministry of Transport (which includes High Tech and Communication) met the representatives of U.S. Index Ventures venture firm, who have ties to Silicon Valley firms such as Amazon, Cisco, Yahoo.

The firm has plans to invest in Armenian startups, valuing the positive developments in the field. The firm also wants to help Armenian startups to enter the Silicon Valley to get fundraising.


State Property Management (SPM) chief gives more details about the $30,000,000 luxury hotel resort that was built by the former regime for their IRS, before giving it to a military college after a public outcry and accusations of funds mismanagement.

The buildings weren't designed as military objects and aren't being fully utilized, says SPM chief. The college uses half of the main building and the gym. There are about a dozen other cottages and buildings that are gone wasted, and the taxpayer are paying for upkeep.

63mln/yr is being spent on the cleaning alone. The resort has 8 hectares of land and houses only 100 college students.

After the April 2016 battles, as a PR move, the government gave it to the college which was operating in bad conditions. The SPM chief says the college will either way continue to operate in good conditions but the current situation is a poor management of public resources.

They are discussing about finding a more appropriate building for the college, so the hotel resort can be used as a hotel. The SPM chief has accused some people [HHK Vigen Sargsyan] of manipulating details to create a public outrage.


The government has given a tax waiver to several companies to help them bring investments and create jobs.

A company will process and produce olive in Kotayk after 1.7bln in investments. 40 new jobs with 120k salary. 6.1bln worth products will be produced annually, half of which will be shipped to EAEU countries.


The second company will import fabrics and other light industry products to produce clothing for women and children in Charentsavan city. 480mln investments to be made. 50 new jobs with 125k avg salary. 720mln annual production, most of which will be sold to EAEU and elsewhere.


The third company will invest 27.8bln on solar energy production in Mets Marsik, Gegharquniq. 4 new jobs with AMD 590k avg salary. It'll produce 3.3bln/year goods.


A bottled water company will receive a 3-year tax waiver to invest 13.2bln in Kotayk to create 140 jobs with avg 422k salary. Products will be exported to EU and Middle East.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/156669 - - - - https://armenpress.am/arm/news/967509.html

The government has adopted several pension proposals (yet to be passed by Parliament).

If you don't pick up your pension for 5 years, you will no longer be automatically removed from the pension list.

A soldier who received a wound or disability during the service can authorize another person through a notary to apply and receive a special aid.

Another change to allow soldiers to receive pension without the need for a currently mandatory 6 month minimum seniority.

The government will count a work done at a foreign company towards the worker's seniority, if the worker made the monthly contributions from the paycheck. This will be done automatically and the worker will no longer have to provide separate proof that they worked overseas.


The Parliament has unanimously voted into law to ban the imports of cars with right side wheel. The cars imported before Dec-2018 will have until this May to register.


The government will provide veterinary and irrigation equipment to dozens of small villages and farming cooperatives, free of charge.


VivaCell and a nature protection organization continue to install eco-friendly street lights in provinces. Around 2km streets in Qaraglukh now have LED lights which use 80% less electricity and live longer.


Georgian president visited Armenia. Went to Genocide memorial, TUMO and met the government.

During an earlier trip to Azerbaijan, to possibly please Azerbaijan after it raised the gas prices for Georgia, the Georgian president made pro-Azeri remarks about Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. The idea of self-determination wasn't mentioned, for obvious reasons.

During today's meeting in Yerevan, Parliament speaker Mirzoyan noted that Georgia, which supports the OSCE format, should preserve the balance of rhetoric and not forget that OSCE also values Artsakh people's rights for self-determination, and that this conflict is not similar to other conflicts such as Abkhazian. Armenia, as noted by Mirzoyan, doesn't vote in international resolutions that violate Georgia's territorial integrity.

Zurabishvili agreed that peace and international law should be the basis of the solution, and also noted that it causes a displeasure among Georgians when Artsakh representatives hold direct talks with Abkhazian representatives. (Georgia has a territorial problem with Russia after the succession of Abkhazia. The latter is a sensitive topic in Georgia.)



Armenia and Georgia will optimize cooperation in border trade to reduce time and various types of abuse.


President Zurabishivili has invited president Sarkissian to visit a European summit held in Georgia this year, while Sarkissian invited her to visit the Summit of Minds to be held in Dilijan this year.


On 2018, Armenia exported 15mln cubic meters of Russian gas worth $2.2mln to Georgia.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/156629 - - - http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/266468 - - - http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/266442 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/967398.html

The US State Department has released a report recognizing the 2018 Revolution and subsequent events as a big positive change from the human rights standpoint.

Department noted that the new government is prosecuting the old regimes' representatives, as well as handles other issues such as abuse, violence and corruption in general.

It noted that there are no political prisoners in Armenia.

First ever truly democratic elections were held on December. A fight against systematic corruption was initiated.

Mike Popmeo also noted that Georgian authorities are handling cases against human rights abuses. The situation is bad in Azerbaijan, where the government made serious violations against human rights. Killings, torture and abuse of children is being left unpunished, and Azeri state officials who commit it usually receive no punishment. The report also criticizes Russia and Turkey for freedom of speech limitations, and political assassinations.

Pompeo has also criticized the Azeri practice of discriminating entry to people with Armenian last names.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/156615 - - - https://www.lragir.am/2019/03/14/425660/ - - - http://panarmenian.net/m/arm/news/266425

Analysis on why the situation in Azerbaijan could get unruly and turn into another mini-war. It involves growing internal pressure by the opposition; external pressure by Russia in the form of increasingly hostile rhetoric such as direct accusations of discrimination of citizens, and Azeri oligarchs being raided (2 in 2 weeks); Iran government recently making remarks about Iranian traitors causing parts of Iran (referring to Azerbaijan) to break away from the country few hundred years ago. Aliyev could opt for another 2016 style distraction from issues.


Link to original report: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/b15ny6/anticorruption_mar142019_day2_cafes_nearby_opera/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports








2019 Daily Armenia Reports