2018 December 24
Anti-Corruption Dec/24/2018: Prosecutors challenge court decision that released Manvel with bail // Mayor and two school directors facing criminal embezzlement charges // Kotayk stops hundreds of unauthorized constructions; businesses agree to pay the fees // much more below...
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
From December 21-24.
Protesters in Ejmiatsin have gathered against the release of Manvel "Tushonka" Grigoryan, once a strongman who kept Ejmiatsin residents in fear, who is accused of stealing army property and possession of illegal weapons. He was released from jail on 21st, after taking into consideration his health conditions and the 25mln bail offer.
Protesters demand the judge who released him "to be held accountable". A former judge says it's a common practice to release a person under bail in lawsuits like this, and that the public should not confuse bail release this with being acquitted of charges.
Protesters have blocked the central streets in Ejmiatsin for two days. They demand Manvel to be sent back to jail. https://armenpress.am/arm/news/959097.html
Prosecutor's office calls the lower Court's decision unlawful, will challenge it in Higher court to send Manvel back to jail. General Prosecutor disagrees that his health was bad enough to be incompatible with detention. (Update: They have submitted a challenge to Higher Court on Monday.)
The police has placed a 24/7 guard near Manvel's residence to keep him safe from possible physical attacks.
Businesswoman Silva Hambardzumyan, who earlier admitted to giving million of dollars in bribes to a HHK MP which prompted an international investigation and an arrest warrant, says Manvel Grigoryan has a "lengthy record of raping underage girls", and that "he should rot in jail".
"Մանվել Գրիգորյանը էս քսան տարի է՝ ասում է՝ հիվանդ եմ, եթե հիվանդ է, վաղուց սատկած կլիներ, ինքը պետք է սատկի բերդում։ Էդքան երեխեքի տուն է քանդել։ Էն երեխեքը, որոնց բռնաբարել է, էն երեխու հերը, որ հետևից էր գնացել ի՞նչ են անում հորը․․․ խուլիգանը։ ......"
Kotayk governor's office has stopped the construction of hundreds of illegal buildings. Dozens of luxury houses and hotels were built on lands belonging to the public, without a compensation or authorization. One village alone will receive 75mln in compensation from a restaurant, within the next few months, which will let them build a much needed kindergarten that hasn't been built for decades.
The former mayor of Arevabuyr faces criminal corruption and embezzlement charges, after the municipality staff agrees to cooperate with the police and testify that the mayor embezzled 4.4mln by stealing the salaries of a non-existing employer that he "hired".
Gothovit school director is charged with embezzlement after it is discovered that he stole 2mln by registering two family members as fake employees.
Dasht, Armavir school director faces similar charges for stealing 3.6mln by hiring his son as a staff member, who never actually went to work.
PM Pashinyan stands by his decision to dissolve the Ministry of Culture as it is, and make parts of it function as part of another ministry. Says the ministry work has been inefficient and hadn't brought real improvements to the culture. (what about soap operas bro?)
Says in other countries, there is 1 manager for every 10 employee. In our government, 1 manager is for 3.5 people.
Says the job of Diaspora Ministry is already being done by other Ministries in pieces. Many times, one ministry is unaware of what the other one is doing around the same topic. There wasn't a proper coordination.
The saved funds will be used to increase the wages for other workers.
He doesn't agree that his administration is anti-culture. Says since taking office, they have issued 400mln additional funds to various cultural institutions, and increased the number of museum/theater attendees by 350,000, by working with Education Ministry to subsidy tickets for students and seniors.
Context: Pashinyan has been wanting to reduce the size of the government to cut what he believes unnecessary spending. The Culture and Diaspora ministry cuts alone will save 2.1bln/year.
The number of ministries will be reduced from 17 to 12, according to the draft resolution, which is yet to be discussed by the Pashinyan cabinet, amendments made to it, then submitted to Parliament for approval. Bright Armenia party says amendments are needed, otherwise they'll vote against the change in Parliament.
The position of 1st Deputy Prime Minister will be eliminated (Ararat Mirzoyan will become the Parliament speaker). There will be a PM, two deputy PMs, and Ministries.
Ministries of Culture, Sport, Youth Affairs, Education will be merged.
Several land, energy related ministries and bodies will merge into Ministry of Territorial Administration and Infrastructure.
Ministry of Agriculture merges with Economic Development and Investments Ministry.
Military industrial committee merges with Ministries of Transport, Technology, and renamed into Ministry of Technology and Military Industry.
These are subject to change once the discussions begin.
One of Pashinyan's newest military advisers used to be a member of a task force gathered by former CSTO chief Yuri Khachaturov, after the signing of infamous order 0038 in March 1st case. Kocharyan's lawyer says the adviser has testified against Kocharyan in court (Kocharyan insists he was unaware of 0038). Lawyer has a theory (no evidence provided) that the adviser might have been "rewarded" by Pashinyan in the role of an adviser for the testimony.
Pashinyan appointed the adviser, who served during April 2016 battles, amid criticism that the man might have played a role in improper management of resources which led to bad intel/supply work on the borders. After learning new details around April 4th upon becoming a PM, Pashinyan believes the adviser is experienced and was used as a scapegoat by the higher-ups.
The high quality gas canister factory, a joint project by Iranian-Armenian businessmen, opens in Vanadzor. $6mln have been invested so far. Expected to reach $21mln.
Daily production of 200 units now, and 1000 once more investments are made. 120 new jobs.
The business owners are also considering a $80mln carbon microfiber factory, and a joint cooperation with Iranian SAIPA company to assemble lightweight vehicles in Armenia. They have presented a concept car to Pashinyan, assembled locally, with imported Iranian parts.
Pashinyan: "The results of the 2018 elections were the first ones in history that have not been challenged in the Constitutional Court. " https://armenpress.am/arm/news/959213.html
The top 1,000 businesses have paid 94.5bln more in taxes 2018vs2017. The smaller businesses paid 10bln less. The share of taxes paid by big businesses went from 69% to 73%.
Russia has made it easier for Armenian ArmTab tablets to be exported to the country. Belarus have made it easier to export cigarettes and alcohol. This is part of EEU cooperation.
Some interesting stats from 2017.
25.7% of population is officially poor per government calculation, because their monthly income is below 42k. However, surprisingly, half of them who fell in that category did not consider themselves as poor, but they did say they had a below-average financial status.
If you ask people, 13.1% say they are poor.
42% of population feel they are below normal. 3.2% feel they are above normal. 0.1% feel they are rich.
People were asked how much they should earn to be considered...
Rich: people said 873k/month is needed; Good: 341k; Survive: 93k.
32% believed it was the government's job to provide them with good paying jobs. 24% have no active plans to seek to improve their financial status, 16% actively in search of better paying jobs, 4% said they want to leave the country, 2% are trying to open their business.
32% were optimistic about future, 27% pessimistic, 14% no change, 27% no answer.
Weightlifting international committee has disqualified several athletes for failing the doping test for 2012 Olympics. Among them is Armenia's Melina Daluzyan (8th place), Azerbaijan's Valentin Khristov (3rd place), Ukraine's Alexei Torokhtii (1st place).
Soccerer Henrikh "always injured" Mkhitaryan was replaced last week after playing only one half. An x-ray shows he has a bone fracture. He'll recover for the next 6 weeks. Wishing Miki a speedy recovery!
Weightlifter Andranik Karapetyan wins Bronze in 81KG World Cup tournament (separate from world championship). This will help him with Olympics 2020 qualification.
First lady Anna Hakobyan's foundation has invited 800 children from low income border village families to watch the "Frozen Heart" New Year themed performance in Sundukyan theater, and spend the day in the children's playground centers in Yerevan.
Santas had a marathon in Yerevan on Sunday
This TV anchoress is keep making mistakes while reading simple words, then having a hard time suppressing the smile later. Can we have some bloopers, please?
One of the 4 leaders of Yellow Vest protests in France is Hayk Shahinyan, who was one of the first to coordinate the protests. They are demanding changes to the political system to allow the public more say over what laws are passed and how they are passed, besides participating in leadership elections once every 5 years.
Ilham vs Ilham
Azerbaijan is having its "Karen Karapetyan" moment. An Azeri billionaire from Russia, Ilham Rahimov, is increasing his influence in Azerbaijan, and wants to enter politics despite his previous failed attempt to become an MP. The ruling party YAP chairwoman criticized him earlier for criticizing the Parliament for doing a bad work. "We already have our Ilham, why do we need someone else's Ilham", said the chairwoman (no sarcasm).
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/a97zuu/anticorruption_dec242018_prosecutors_challenge/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|