2019 May 22

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption - May/22/2019: Former mayor busted; water pipes stolen.... Transitional justice system & Vetting... Yerevan municipality council needs Jesus.... Debt continues to reduce.... How to spend IRS's excess money?.... Foreign aid from EU & Russia.... CSTO.... Baku keeps taking it.... more
by ar_david_hh

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.

Back to our regular programming.

The NSS has busted the former mayor of Verin Getashen. He is accused of abusing powers to steal the settlement's 25KM long water pipes worth 50mln. Some of it was taken by his brother's construction company, which then used the materials to do street light work for the municipality, say the authorities. A criminal case is launched.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/162056 ---- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWqb3cc1_oM

US-based transitional justice system specialist will travel to Armenia to help the authorities with the reforms. She believes this is the right time for it, because some time has already passed after the revolution. Such reforms take a long time to create. The agency believes the justice reform changes must be applied on everyone equally, in order to address the concerns by the members of the former government.

The agency believes the Parliament should take part to adopt the reforms. These changes must be coupled with the "vetting" system placed on the judges, because the courts are not trusted to fairly handle the cases under transitional justice measures.

There are multiple ways the vetting can work. The judges or prosecutors with corruption past can be fired. This must be done transparently. Vetting can be done by a newly created body that will take action against judges based on the violations of human rights that happened in past.



European Council secretary T. Jagland spoke with Pashinyan, said Armenia must meet its obligations and follow the Constitution during the judicial reforms. EU will soon send an envoy to help with the reforms.


ARF will hold a big rally in Freedom Square tomorrow. They are throwing in all the resources to gather people from provinces. Kocharyan team members will be present, but Rob himself will not be there.


A few people in Stepanakert, Artsakh gathered to protest against president Bako Sahakyan and Robert Kocharyan. The organizer accused his government of conducting repressions against dissenters, willingness to cause a divide between Armenia and Artsakh for personal benefit, and a host of other allegations.


TUMO tech education center won a Europa Nostra European heritage award for its contributions to education.

https://tumo.org/en/tumo-wins-a-2019-europa-nostra-award/ --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/162001

At last, Yerevan municipality has begun collecting the garbage itself, after finding Sanitek company insufficient. The city will deduct money from Sanitek's paycheck based on the amount of work done by the city itself (oofff). Up to 25 trucks will hit the streets, for now only 5.

Context: Years ago, Yerevan signed a contract with Sanitek. It was chosen as the sole garbage collector through a shady contract that involved a dummy competitor. The company failed to do their duties and was fined multiple times. The new administration bought Kamaz trucks and begun collecting the garbage itself, after solving legal issues. Opposition blamed municipality for breaking rules while obtaining Kamaz, while the prosecutors found no illegal conduct.



Yerevan municipality shuts down another illegally built object that intruded on the street. The owner agreed to voluntarily dismantle it.




Municipality's opposition Luys alliance councilwoman suggested to rename several streets to add "Saint" prefix to them. (e.g. St. Mesrop Mashtoc).

QP asked her how much it will cost to change the street names, the signs on the building walls, citizens' passports. The councilwoman said she doesn't have the numbers, but the Passport staff says the changes can be made only for future cases, and they can ask the church to offer financial help to change street signs.

A councilman asked if it's not a discrimination to rename Mashtoc, Grigor Lusavorich and others as Saints, but not rename streets named after Siamanto (and other newer guys) whom the church also declared as Saints.

a few moments later

Things got heated. The councilwoman who proposed the change was confronted about labeling those against the change as being "sectarian". She responded saying she has no problem with people being sectarian.

Another opposition BHK councilwoman turned the argument into a history lesson and told QP to go read the Armenian history.

Eventually, the opposition members accused the QP of being atheist, anti-church, cheap, and being similar to HHK. QP accused them of creating a shitshow with the purpose of defaming the party with the HHK comparisons. Eventually, the council voted to rename only one, Grigor Lusavorich to Saint Grigor Lusavorich.

ya'll don't mind if I sip a coffee☕

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/162031 --- https://youtu.be/Uv9Y_8QH-s0?t=24 --- https://youtu.be/uiNPvTsgmrk?t=12


2,571 people applied for Municipality's 128 vacant job positions. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/161680

The national debt continues to go down. It was lowered by $35 million last month. Currently it's at $6.9 billion.


GALLUP International had another poll among 1100 citizens, this one for various ministries and cabinets. It shows NSS chief Vanetsyan and Defense Minister Tonoyan having the highest 4.2/5 rating. Police chief Osipyan is 4/5. Yerevan mayor Marutyan 3.3/5. The lowest was Labor and Social Affairs minister Batoyan at 3/5.

56% said they completely agree with municipality's decision to remove those cafes from the Opera neighborhood.

When asked to rate Pashinyan and his government just for the work in the past 3 months, 74% were favorable. 58% supported his appointment of various people in government positions.

31% said they expect the government to raise the pensions, salaries and will lower the taxes. 28% said they expect the government to bring all businesses to the legal sphere, 24% expect to see significant improvements to the economy.

45% said unemployment is currently the most important topic that bothers them, 40% said the economy, 27% said the low pensions and salaries, 26% said the Artsakh conflict, 10% the emigration, 7% the corruption, 0.2% terrorism.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/162034 ----- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975732.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975731.html ---- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975729.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975718.html

The IRS said they will collect 62bln more this year compared to past. Pashinyan instructed the cabinet to discuss how to spend the money. 7bln of it will go towards road repairs. 6.8bln towards soldier salary increase. 3.5bln towards teacher salary increase. "What about the other 45bln?", asked Pashinyan.

"The GDP rose at 7.1% in 2019Q1, which is a good result. The rest of the money is advised to be spent on areas that directly boost the economic development", said Pashinyan.


Private economists say that in order for Armenia to attract significantly more foreign investors, its market must be big enough to be attractive. They have examined dozens of similar countries with small markets, and found, that even with the absence of a big market, Armenia can have foreign investments size of 7.2% of its GDP, if some anti-monopoly and strong property ownership laws exist. That investment-to-GDP ratio has been 2.7% for the past 5 year.


EU will increase its aid to Armenia by 25 million Euros in 2019. The money will be used on improving democratic institutions and civil societies (Jorge Sonos maybe?), energy sector, nature protection, provincial development.


The government earlier approved temporary import tariffs on Iranian cement imports in order to protect Armenian cement makers. It was then discussed in Parliament several times, and amendments were made. The tariff size was eventually reduced from 22k to 14k Drams per ton. The Parliamentary economic committee approved this. There will be a Parliament vote on the amended version.


Government-run animal and plant safety laboratory is going through changes. 6-25% salary raise. As part of EAEU cooperation, Russia also donated 197mln Drams ($0.5 million) so the labs can buy new inspection equipment. This will allow them to quickly identify dozens of dangerous metals and pesticides in the organisms/meat. Other slaughterhouse reforms are also being done to modernize the process.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975757.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/975733.html -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AYFsV6qX34

Armenian-Russian businessmen Stepanyan brothers invested 100mln to build a 3KM road in a province, which wasn't repair since the independence.


CSTO military summit took place, during which they made a final decision not to appoint a new boss until 2020 January 1st, which is when Armenia's term ends. Belarus will lead starting January 1st. Armenia earlier vacated the seat after its top delegate Yuri Khachaturov was charged in March 1st case. Belarus and Kazakhstan presidents then asked Armenia to yield the seat, but Pashinyan refused to do so until January 1st, 2020.


Europeans are making fun of the situation that developed over Mkhitaryan being unable to fly to Baku to Europa League finale. People joke about some of Chelsea's best players being Armenian with a hope they won't be allowed there.

"Kim Kardashian is player N'golo Kante's godmother", wrote one couch-based fact checker.



Arsenal captain Laurent Koscielny criticized UEFA for organizing the finale in a country that has a conflict with others.



British TV host Piece Morgan: "Mkhitaryan can't play because he is Armenian? Shameful". He criticized people for speaking against racism in soccer, but not doing anything about it.


Russian rapper Timati and Nazima have a new clip featuring shots in Armenian nature. Sneak peek...


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bru3bp/anticorruption_may222019_former_mayor_busted/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports














2019 Daily Armenia Reports