2018 November 15
Anti-Corruption Nov/15/2018: Cassation Court overturns Higher Court ruling, makes Kocharyan eligible for arrest; 2 more gas companies busted by IRS; Ministry of Nature staff charged for corruption; a mayor and staff caught embezzling; customs worker caught taking bribes on the border; (more below)
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
The Court of Cassations (Lower court > Higher court > Cassation court > Constitutional court) is hearing the Kocharyan case. The Higher Court had earlier decided that he cannot be detained because the Constitution gives him an immunity for his actions as a president.
... the prosecutors took the case to the Court of Cassation arguing that the Higher court only took into account one part of the Constitution while ignoring the existence of other charges that would make Kocharyan eligible for arrest. The prosecutors want the Cassation to overturn the Higher Court decision and validate the Lower Court decision that ruled he should be arrested
... the Cassation Court rules the Higher Court verdict is invalid, however, it did not make the Lower court verdict as the final decision. The case has been sent back to the Higher court for re-trial. One of the judges wrote an opinion piece encouraging both sides to take the case to the Constitutional Court to clarify certain things.
IRS raids on gas companies continues. Companies Arpi and Gladzor have been charged with criminal tax evasion for allegedly cooking the books between 2015-2018 to hide the real scale of gas sales. The damage to the state is estimated around AMD 383mln. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/148533
NSS busts a major corruption ring in Aragatsotn province. The local employees of Ministry of Nature Protection accepted bribes and allowed criminals to steal arable lands worth AMD 66mln. Four people are facing criminal charges.
... NSS discovers that a customs worker at Bagratashen duties point took bribes in exchange for allowing two persons to import car tires without paying taxes.
... NSS finds embezzlement and abuse of power in Tashir municipality. AMD 114mln damage was done to the state. The mayor has allegedly embezzled AMD 96mln by designating the funds to a garbage collecting company but never using the funds for the purpose. Other officials registered non-existent people as employees to steal their salaries. Criminal cases are launched.
... NSS finds more employees of Ijevan forest protection agency who took bribes in exchange for allowing illegal deforestation
The Pashinyan cabinet votes to make the government sessions open to public, except when state secrets are to be discussed. The bill will be send to Parliament for approval. Currently, the law (passed by HHK earlier) states that the government session can be held behind the closed doors. https://hetq.am/hy/article/98175
Serj Sargsyan’s chief bodyguard Vacho, who was arrested for financial crimes before being released on AMD 1bln bail, has been arrested again after the court approves the prosecutors’ petition to overturn the bail decision. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/148527
As the Pashinyan administration continues to work on the new tax law which could see paycheck taxes reduced for [per FactorTV] 35% of the workers, there are some who believe there needs to be a clause in the law that assures that the employers won't "steal" those funds from the workers. While the money circulation in the economy will increase, some of that saved money will be collected back by the government in the form of increased taxation of cigarettes/alcohol/fuel, in order to partially offset the revenue losses. The end result will mean increased economic circulation, but some workers, who consume a lot of the aforementioned products, won't necessarily have more cash in their pockets at the end of the month. The previous Karen Karapetyan administration implemented the Progressive taxation method [multiple brackets] while increasing the taxes, and caused the gray economy to grow, before realizing that they've made a mistake. The Pashinyan administration agrees with Karapetyan's conclusion that the taxes should have been lowered. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YFRTvrzEQ4o
The government has approved a AMD 270mln package to renovate prisons, some of which have gone a decade without any repairs. Pashinyan says that in past, renovations were done at the expense of funds collected from the prisoners, even after receiving the needed money from the government. It is unclear where those government funds went to http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/148506 —- https://youtu.be/yE-1pbcV790
BHK Tigran Urikhanyan proposes a bill to explicitly ban gay marriage. The Pashinyan administration turns it down, citing that the Constitution and another law already state that the marriage is between a man and a woman http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/148508
More than half of the polling station supervisors in the upcoming elections are from HHK party https://www.a1plus.am/1649845.html
The smear campaign by fake news outlets reaches the Minister of Transport. Beware of what you read on websites. https://fip.am/4964
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/9xf35y/anticorruption_nov152018_cassation_court/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|