2020 June 30

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Jun/30/2020 News: (1) I took a bribe (2) Public polls about COVID (3) Property Tax Q&A (4) Parliament, Court, Referendum (5) President's scare (6) Subsidized Hep C drug (7) Kocharyan trial (8) Armenian jets in Africa (9) Anti-body tests (10) Artsakh aid (11) Another Mayor (12) No torture in Kapan
by ar_david_hh


I took a $20 bribe to vote for BHK...

... said Mrgashen resident, claiming that during the 2017 elections, an unknown Land Cruiser parked outside of booth N28/16 and its occupants gave each of his 3 family members $20 to vote for BHK.

Prosecutors are investigating. https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191449

Parliament cancels the referendum

... by passing a law with a 81-0-0 vote, because Parliament earlier solved the Constitutional Court (CC) crisis by firing unconstitutional judges. The referendum isn't needed.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191420

Who will nominate the CC judges?

The Constitution says the president, Supreme Court, and the govt should nominate judges.

QP wants to amend the law to make sure none of these branches nominates more than the others.

For example: if 3 of the existing judges were nominated by govt, 3 by the president, 3 by Supremes, and one of the judges previously nominated by the president leaves, then the president should be the one to nominate the new candidate.

--

The bill was approved with a 80-1-0 vote. It also makes sure the fired judges get a pension.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191411 , Details: https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191341 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191442 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191441

President Sarkissian creates a mini-panic over the bill

He said he won't sign the above-mentioned law, passed hours ago, which is meant to amend the rules about CC judge appointment procedure and pensions.

Some people assumed Sarkissian sabotaged the process. Others say it's the opposite, he wants the fired judges to receive pension faster.

--

QP MP Nazeli clarifies: when the President pre-emptively refuses to sign a bill, the Constitution gives the Parliament Speaker 5 days to sign the bill and immediately activate it.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191471 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191475

Before the Constitutional Court judges were fired...

... a law was created in 2019 to give all judges an opportunity and time to decide whether they want to voluntarily quit and receive an early pension. The judges chose not to.

3 of them were later fired.

--

IND MP Babajanyan in Parliament: the fact that Kocharyan removed his case from CC after the judges were fired is proof that the judges were in a criminal agreement with him [to help Kocharyan by ruling he cannot be charged with March 1st].

The ex-judge Tokhyan protested his firing claiming "I have loans. Who is going to pay for it?".

Judges, who make these financial complaints today, are the same ones who rejected an earlier offer to give them an early retirement pension.

In reality, they were expecting a lot more "help" from Kocharyan after helping him get away with March 1st.

Now this group dug trenches and launched a warfare against the public and govt. We had a criminal gang, not a Constitutional Court.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191411 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191422

Kocharyan is back in court / Trial delayed again

Kocharyan is free, but he still has to go through trials.

Today his trial was delayed again. This time his lawyers complained about lack of social distancing in the courtroom.

Prosecutors complained that the defense is - once again - artificially delaying the trial. Last time prosecutors asked the judge to sanction defense for the delays.

March 1st victim complained that if Kocharyan brings 10 more lawyers and fills the room, should they delay the trial again due to lack of distancing?

--

Kocharyan lawyer insisted safety must be respected. "Please follow Emergency Taskforce's recommendations."

The judge ordered another section of the room to be used to relocate some people to increase the distance.

Kocharyan lawyer claimed that's not enough and they need professional disinfection. The judge said it's impossible to do it in a short time.

--

Prosecutor noted that Robik wasn't so hellbent on sanitation in previous trials. "There are hand sanitizers on every table. Use it."

--

The judge said they can't make further modifications to the courtroom.

Prosecutors refused Defense's offer to move behind a glass barrier, even further away, citing the impossibility to do the work efficiently.

The judge delayed the trial until July 7th.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191430 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191436

Tag: #KocharyanTrial

President signs the law about Property Tax increase

He isn't happy with it, saying it shouldn't be done during the pandemic, but he didn't find anything against the Constitution, so he signed it.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191472

Property Taxes / Income Taxes / MPs address concerns

Property taxes will gradually increase after Parliament passed a bill to reform the decades-old neglected property price database.

--

QP Tunyan: it is misleading that we're raising property taxes during COVID pandemic. Residents won't make the first payment until December-2021.

The Cadastre changes, which recalculated property values, were implemented in 2019. Last week's bill is meant to ease the landlords' burden by making that tax hike gradual (6 years).

Seniors won't have their pensions confiscated for not paying.

Cities have the right to exempt the low-income by using a special accumulated fund.

--

QP MP: the law will result in abandoned properties in Yerevan being put to use (business/personal) because landlords won't find it beneficial to keep it unused while paying taxes for it.

--

Cadastre chief: this week our website will have a calculator to allow every landlord to see how much taxes they'll pay throughout the next 6 years.

--

Finance Minister: Property tax reform is the continuation of Income tax reform.

Last year we established a 23% (soon 20%) flat income tax by removing the higher Progressive brackets, because they were progressive only on paper.

Only 1,400 taxpayers were paying over 23%, with 65% of filers being under.

Instead, we chose to tax the visible wealth, the properties.

--

Finance Minister: a 1280m2 land in the best part of Mashtots Avenue only pays $1,200/year tax. That isn't fair, considering the value and location.

--

QP Tunyan: on the other hand, taxes will temporarily reduce for some buildings. Next year a 490m2 property on Nar Dos St. will pay $240 instead of current $650, but in 6 years it'll rise to $950.

A 400m2 on Vardanants St. will pay less at first but eventually pay $955 instead of today's $625.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191417 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191412 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020065.html , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020066.html , https://factor.am/264716.html

Tag: #PropertyTax

How Armenian airlines trafficked weapons in Africa for years

Last year Armenian Civil Aviation got in trouble for years-long negligence in the system. Accusations were made about improper weapons-related flights and safety checks of Armenian jets in Africa.

--

The UN prohibited weapons transfer in eastern Congo due to civil war.

Since 2012, 5 jets registered in Armenia and 1 jet registered in Sudan (by the same Armenian jetman) were mentioned in the UN report.

(Hetq investigators have been writing about this Armenian jetman for years. Links in the article.)

In 2016 it was known that the jetman was flying in Congo with an airline called South Airlines Co..

Jetman's jets were directly used by the Congolese army.

The UN found that besides the real Armenian jets, some non-Armenian jets were falsely marked as being Armenian.

The lengthy full report: https://hetq.am/hy/article/118848

40,000 Armenians

... have returned with special flights during the pandemic. 8,000 of them received a travel subsidy.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191415

COVID aid from France & Japan

French President Macron said he'll send more doctors, and could possibly give Armenia $80mln loan to help with economy.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/282460/

--

Japan will loan(?) $3.7mln to help Armenia purchase high-quality Japanese-made COVID equipment.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/191480

Infections among doctors / Anti-body detection

380 doctors were tested for antibodies. 61 came positive. 1,000 more will be tested soon.

--

The UN-supplied test kits are fairly accurate. They give 2 false positives per 1,000 tests.

Those who test positive for anti-body and assume they have immunity, still have to wear masks. There is a small chance the test was inaccurate.

"In comparison, the anti-body kits found in private labs can be highly inaccurate."

--

International research revealed that the anti-body density in the blood can sharply reduce within 3 months, but that doesn't mean the immune system cannot prevent a double-infection after 3 months. More data is needed.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020040.html

BHK chief Tsarukyan infected

Gagik Tsarukyan's son isn't the only infected family member. It was confirmed that Tsarukyan himself has COVID.

He jokingly noted, "it turns out COVID doesn't bypass kind people", in response to his older interview during which he claimed COVID doesn't touch kind people.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191452

Public poll about COVID / Who to blame? / U scared? / ...

Who carries responsibility for COVID spread? 8% said govt, 89% said individuals.

--

Would you sacrifice some personal freedom to defeat COVID? 88% yes, 9% no.

--

Did your family income reduce during COVID? 68% yes, 30% no.

--

Is COVID under control? 75% yes, 23% no.

--

Are COVID's dangers overblown? 40% yes, 55% no.

--

Is govt in control of situation? 77% yes, 20% no.

--

Are you scared your family will get it? 75% yes, 22% no.

--

Will things return to normal this year? 66% yes, 27% no.

--

Did you use govt's COVID aid? 38% yes, 32% no.

--

Did COVID make you unemployed? 30% yes, 63% no.

--

Is remote education effective? 35% yes, 56% no.

--

Is remote work effective? 46% yes, 34% no.

By Gallup International w/1000 responders: https://factor.am/264959.html

Artsakh sends COVID aid to California

East Armenia 💖 West Armenia. Masks made in Artsakh will be shipped to Cali "to help American people and our compatriots."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191451

This is Stepanakert

The capital of Artsakh Republic

https://youtu.be/snW82ZhW-cA

Azerbaijani government is falsifying COVID stats

... according to Orbeli research center.

"Until recently they claimed there were no infections in the army. Then they admitted a few. There are reports of many infections, actually. The govt might be hiding it to shield itself from the opposition.

When Armenian hackers leaked the data of infected Azeris in one region, the comparison with the govt's public stats revealed under-reporting.

It's also possible that regional administrations reduce the numbers on paper to claim they're doing a great job."

--

In case you missed it, there are reports coming from Azerbaijan about govt covering up deaths of many soldiers.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020039.html , https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hi647g/jun292020_1_yerevan_closes_apartment_garbage/?

Military academy will recruit women

The "luxurious" military school named after Monte Melkonyan will begin to recruit women for the first time.

High schoolers will undergo a medical evaluation before going through interviews.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020068.html

Chambarak mayor is charged

...with felony abuse of power for allegedly legalizing his illegal building through illegal means.

https://factor.am/264746.html

Yerevan zoo...

... replaced its godawful website with another godawful website.

http://yerevanzoo.am/

National Library of Armenia

... also has a website. They routinely display ancient books and give recommendations about Top 10 Best Libraries You Must Visit Before You Die.

Thousands of people began following the library on social media during the pandemic.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020076.html

No evidence of torture in Kapan arrest case...

...concluded the SIS investigation. A man earlier uploaded photos of bruises claiming he was tortured in a police station. The police claimed he resisted the arrest so they had to apply force.

This is the felony case in which several Zangezur factory workers allegedly kidnapped and tortured another man. They were arrested. Their families in Kapan organized a protest afterward.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191407

Lake Sevan levels

It's 3cm higher than last year.

39mln m3 drained, 143mln m3 added, so far this year.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1020079.html

Honorary mention goes to

...Serj's fugitive son-in-law Mishik. He made another video, which the FIP fact-checker says is full of lies.

https://fip.am/12065

Government will subsidize the Hepatitis C medication

Healthcare Minister: we received the box with Hep C medication for 500 people. Another 500 to arrive soon. The govt will pay for the treatment. We aim to completely defeat this infectious disease.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/191432

You get a radio, everybody gets a radio

Listen to any radio around the world by picking it on the map.

http://radio.garden/visit/ely-nv/DPl7n5t0

--

You've read 1942 words.


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/hito6h/jun302020_news_1_i_took_a_bribe_2_public_polls/

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. Helpful overview of Armenia's media ownership and leanings.


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