2019 August 21

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Anti-Corruption Daily

News & Anti-Corruption - Aug/21/2019 :: Amulsar mining environmental & economic sides ::: Transparency International ::: NSS busts Defense Ministry officials ::: Admins of a school for disabled kids busted ::: Racism in chess ::: Cheap air flights operator ::: more inside
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.


If you're out of the loop with Amulsar story and need the details, check out the previous two news editions here.

What the internationally accredited ELARD firm examined wasn't the only environmental assessment that was done around Amulsar. Few years back another Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA, Armenian "SHMAG") was done. Amulsar critics say this old EIA was flawed, and that ELARD's new examination pointed out that the EIA was flawed. Although ELARD concluded the main water resources in question would be safe, critics say this isn't convincing enough.

During today's govt meeting Pashinyan asked Nature Ministry to investigate whether a new EIA is needed.

Transparency International agency has commented on the matter, saying ELARD did find problems with the old EIA. It found things that indicate that former officials might have committed gross negligence, or a felony to cover up problems. Transparency International advised the prosecutors not to drop the felony abuse of power investigation against the former officials yet. The prosecutors, however, said the results did not provide enough evidence of a crime by former officials, thus they cannot press charges.

(Last year a felony case was launched under a suspicion that former officials covered up problems. After the new examination's results came in, prosecutors said not enough evidence of a felony exists.)

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/167675 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/167660 --- https://www.lragir.am/2019/08/21/468954/

The Investigative Committee says Lydian miner has mostly agreed with the ELARD assessment, and agreed to take steps to make sure waste waters aren't poured into the nearby rivers. The part that Lydian disagreed with Investigative Committee was the accusations that no samples were taken from two nearby water resources (not Jermuk springs or Sevan).

Besides Jermuk and Sevan, which were found to be safe, there was also the question of two nearby rivers. Critics said Lydian could dump their waste there. Pashinyan said if Lydian is caught doing that, the mine will be shut down within 3 months if they don't stop. It appears that Lydian has agreed with the government's "ultimatum".

Investigative Committee report also says the air pollution around Jermuk city can be controlled and mitigated.

http://arka.am/en/news/business/investigative_committee_unveils_concise_conclusion_on_amulsar_project/ ---------- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/167656 ------------ https://youtu.be/8emNkIrC2Uw

First Deputy PM Avinyan:

There is no consensus whether the mine should be operated or not. We must proceed based on facts, and not feelings.

$400mln has been invested by the foreign investors. Another $130mln to be invested. The project will help create 4,500 jobs, with 750 being directly in Amulsar. The state budget will get extra $50mln/year (24bln) from direct taxes. The additional GDP growth provided by this project will be 1%-1.4%.

In addition, no one can be sure that Armenia will win a lawsuit if the project has a positive environmental assessment but isn't allowed to proceed. Armenia cannot reject foreign investors in such a manner without having legal grounds for it.

Exams did show Jermuk and Sevan waters will be safe, but it did find other problems and made suggestions. Investigative Committee prepared a 23 page assessment (mentioned above). Not only Amulsar would operate at highest safety standards in Armenia, but other mines will be told to improve their standards.

End of Avinyan post.

https://factor.am/176801.html

The story of the Salt Lake City mine that Pashinyan mentioned in his Monday live stream

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/167638

Pashinyan: ազգովի քաքն ընգանք Ամուլսարի ձեռը

Bako Sahakyan: hold my beer

Artsakh president Bako Sahakyan met Armenian-Russian geologist and investor Sergay Vardanyan. The latter says there are numerous mining opportunities in Artsakh that can benefit the country's economy and jobs.

https://artsakhpress.am/arm/news/112213/bako-sahakyann-yndunel-e-tchanachvats-rusastanabnak-erkraban-sergey-vardanyanin.html ------ https://factor.am/176882.html

Education Ministry and Prosecutors have busted the admins of a gov-funded school for kids with hearing disabilities. Investigators say this happened in 2017-2018:

In 2017 they stole 2mln by falsifying records about fuel spent on work cars. In 2018 they stole 2.3mln by laying about purchased appliances.

Between 2017-2018 admins stole 39.4mln by purchasing food meant for kids, but never gave it to kids. 26.1mln was stolen by inflating the work hours by teachers. 25mln stolen by falsifying salary bonuses.

The suspects are facing 3 felony charges.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/167666

NSS audited the Defense Ministry and found that several Ministry officials abused their powers, signed a contract with a product delivery firm by deliberately inflating product prices to embezzle 21.7mln.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/167652

A Parliament committee chief has sent a petition to FIDE world chess organizers to investigate Turkish chess committee and Azerbaijan chess team for racism against an Armenian chess player. Two petitions were sent, the second one is pending. FIDE is investigating.

Armenian female chess champion was invited to participate in Sebastia Chess Tournament in Turkey. According to an agreement, the tournament organizers invite the players and pay for the ticket. But the Azeri chess federation boycotted and said they wouldn't send their entire team to Turkey if the Armenian player participates (so brave 👌). The Turkish organizers caved in to the pressure and refused to help the Armenian player, which resulted in her being unable to participate. The Turkish organizer threatened to sue the Armenian player after she published a screenshot of a conversation in which she was pressured by the Turkish organizers to voluntarily refuse to travel.

FIDE is urged to investigate and condemn the act of racism, says committee chief Mkhitar Hayraprtyan.

https://factor.am/176685.html ---- Details https://sport.news.am/eng/news/102672/armenias-multiple-chess-champion-to-not-participate-in-fide-tournament-in-turkey-due-to-azerbaijanis-demand.html

Ministry of Infrastructure has asked the govt to end taxation of some provincial transport operators as an incentive to do business, because 200 settlements don't have bus lines due to companies not finding it profitable to go there.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/106612

Earlier, Civil Aviation department negotiated with Irish low cost RyanAir to enter the Armenian market. The company wanted tax breaks as a condition. Those negotiations are still ongoing.

Today, the RyanAir director visited Armenia and met Pashinyan and Avinyan. He said the company plans to enter the market soon.

RyanAir provides flights for as low as few dozen bucks between European cities, although to fly to Armenia it'll cost higher than that. Your butt will hurt from their plastic chairs with spikes on them, BUT IT CHEAP THO.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/167665 --- https://armtimes.com/hy/article/167655

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. Older posts can be found at: PART 1 ; PART 2 ; PART 3 , credits to Idontknowmuch.


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ctldy8/news_anticorruption_aug212019_amulsar_mining/

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