2019 February 21

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption Feb/21/2019: State Economic Competition vs offshore mine owners -- Serj's brother pays 5.6bln more -- protectionism & limited gov -- Yerevan State University -- Medical University and diplomas -- mayors down -- directors down -- food safety inspector and border agent caught - more
by ar_david_hh

All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.


And so it begins.

The State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition had sent a report to PM Pashinyan suggesting that most of the mine owners in Armenia are registered offshore firms.

Pashinyan says the law enforcement should examine and find who is behind these mines, because it is evident that they are controlled from one place (which would raise competition related questions).

Earlier QP members said they'll pass a law requiring offshore firms to provide data that will help to reveal the real owners.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965032.html

Earlier we learned that Serj's brother Alexander Sargsyan voluntarily returned 9bln to the state, after the authorities froze one of his known bank accounts.

NSS chief Arthur Vanetsyan says another 5.6bln in unpaid taxes (etc) was recovered through legal procedures.

Serj's other brother Sashik is the next subject of the investigation. All criminal investigations continue, says Vanetsyan.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155183

St. Gregory Illuminator former chief Ara Minasyan (Serj's relative) and Serj's brother Levon Sargsyan, who are facing criminal charges, had left the country legally before the charges were pressed, says NSS Vanetsyan. NSS didn't have the right to stop them at the border.

As for the "bribe-taking Nature Minister MP" Aram Harutyunyan, NSS doesn't know his whereabouts and he hasn't legally crossed the border. Levon Sargsyan is in one of the Arab nations.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155186

As part of a pilot program, the government will hire private companies to serve the food to soldiers, in cases which are currently handled by the Defense Ministry itself. The companies will be required to renovate military facilities and improve the food quality.

The current system has been a subject of criticism for being inefficient and failing in numerous occasions, leaving the soldiers without necessary nutrients for lengthy periods.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965046.html

https://hetq.am/hy/article/101120

To prevent the local cement makers from going bankrupt and giving the importers a monopoly (and significant price hike), the government will temporarily place tariffs on imported cement to help the locals to match the prices.

Pashinyan says this is temporary, and the local cement makers will have to invest in their technologies to improve the efficiency to the point that they can naturally compete through lower prices.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965048.html

Education Minister says the Yerevan State University (EPH) chief Simonyan is using his position to shield himself from the legal problems, while lying about the government breaking laws by disrupting University's 100 anniversary events. (Yesterday the police said EPH administration took bribes, stole other money and abused powers).

Minister calls his other critics within the EPH administration hypocrites for saying that the university is being pressured and doesn't have self-governance. Minister says today they don't answer to any political clan, while in all of their past photos they are pictured bowing to Serj Sargsyan.

Minister has called for chief Simonyan to resign for poor management and his legal problems, and says all the existing problems in EPH are directly tied to him.

Last week a group of students organized protests demanding Simonyan's resignation.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155159

......

Earlier we learned that State Oversight Committee found 800mln in damages done to state by EPH administration.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965083.html

Yerevan's Medical University's high ranking employee (relative of former HHK PM Tigran Sargsyan) says she faced a retaliation by the rector for raising concerns about various irregularities.

She says the foreign students have been repeatedly favored for years. Sometimes they failed to answer questions during the exams, but received points nonetheless. What's more concerning is that 22 foreign students are missing any records of examination, yet they received grades.

She says her problems with the administration begun on 2017 when she first complained that the administration issued a diploma to a foreign student who dropped out on 2001 without giving exams.

(Last year, Israel suspended the acceptance of medical diplomas from Armenian institutions after it became apparent that some Israeli doctors purchased licenses in Armenia. This is unrelated to this particular story, or maybe not.)

https://news.am/arm/news/497679.html

Musaler mayor faces criminal charges for embezzlement of 1mln he collected from villagers to fix the tractor.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155189

Food Safety Inspection official has been arrested on the spot while taking a bribe, after the agency cooperated with NSS.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155195

NSS sent a tip to Shirak police about Ashotsq school director embezzling 16mln in state funds by falsifying employee records between 2010-2018. He is facing felony charges.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155202

NSS has arrested a border customs official for helping a friend to illegally enter the country through the border on July of 2018. He has admitted the guilt and has been charged with 2 counts. He is told not to leave the country (kek).

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965091.html

The government has approved the Justice Ministry plan to include judges to the list of people qualified for subsidized healthcare, as part of a plan to make them less likely to take bribes.

https://factor.am/126614.html

ԷԿՈՍ-Մ tech company has been granted the right to do business in the Free Economic Zone.

The company will invest 782mln, create 57 new jobs with 500k salaries and export 1.8bln worth tech products annually to EAEU, EU, USA, China.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965096.html

UCOM internet ISP will cooperate with Education Ministry to begin blocking porn, terror and malware sites on school premises which use UCOM net.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965100.html

Gyumri will have a new transport system equipped with "smart" bus stops (WiFi, USB, charging) and better roads. The number of buses and routes will increase. They have hired a company to examine the human traffic in the city to choose the new routes more efficiently.

They are waiting for the government to approve a 60% subsidy. The system hasn't been renovated in 11 years.

https://news.am/arm/news/497582.html

Artsakh Republic is holding emergency training to prepare the government agencies and certain civilian objects on how to act during military attacks. The goal is to reduce the information sharing time and improve efficiency in situations when the time is of the essence.

https://factor.am/126925.html

Unknown vandal(s) broke into one of Manvel Grigoryan's houses and caused a damage. No items were stolen.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155233

Health Ministry has finished signing contracts with several hospitals to provide free cancer surgeries to patients. The procedures will be free without a co-payment. The list of hospitals:

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155166

Earlier we learned that the investigative committee signed a deal with 10 public organizations to make the non-combat army death investigations more transparent, the first of its kind cooperation.

As part of it, the authorities have agreed to re-open the investigations of 5 deaths that took place in past, that were subject of suspicions.

(PM Pashinyan had earlier met the families of few victims and promised to ask the authorities to look into the cases.)

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965049.html

"My Step" and "City of Smiles" Foundations press conference:

First Lady Anna Hakobyan's My Step Foundation has received 859mln in donations from 114 people and organizations. 236mln spent so far.

The largest single donation was 241mln towards the rebuilding of Meghri kindergarten. Smallest was 1000 AMD by an anonymous donor.

4.3mln was spent on two travel events which resulted in 170mln new donations. The foundation still doesn't have a permanent location, furniture, employees use personal equipment.

Foundation has 16 workers. Several public officials and singers including Serj Tankian are members of the board of trustees.

24mln has been spent on administrative costs to pay salaries and travel, since its creation. 3mln in taxes paid.

44mln on subsidizing kids education. 142mln on various musical and cultural groups. 20mln on medical treatments for wounded soldiers. 5mln on anti-plastic environmental initiative. The foundation plans to help couples with fertility issues in future.

More below...

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155172

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155176

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965058.html

.....

Hakobyan says sometimes people send expensive gifts, which she returns back. She only accepts small cost symbolic gifts such as attire accessories Made in Armenia.

She denies media rumors that she made expensive purchases during the Davos international meeting, calling them false.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155194

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155193

......

During the press conference, one of the journalists called out Hakobyan for the reports that she allegedly used a helicopter to travel to a greenhouse business opening last year (which has already been exposed by locals as fake news; another businessman used the heli) and for spending few thousand dollars of personal funds on her daughter's 20th birthday.

She referred to the reports as low quality, not containing any valid criticism, and she doesn't find it necessary to respond to it anymore.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155185

......

Hakobyan also runs the City of Smiles Foundation, which helps kids with cancer.

Founded 5 months ago. 264mln collected. Single largest donation was 51mln, smallest 1k. Total of 85 donors.

100 children have received a cancer treatment. 70mln spent on their medications, surgeries, food and care. Over 10 festivals were held to support kids and collect funds.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155174

ECHR court has ruled against Armenia in a lawsuit brought by a citizen.

On 2003, someone obtained an enriched Uranium then tried to sell it in Georgia years later. He was caught. One of the participants testified against him on 2010. ECHR says the defendant had the right to cross-examine or question the witness who testified against him, but the Armenian courts illegally rejected it.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/101103

The government has hired an international mining environmental impact assessment company ELARD for $400,000, to find out the scope of the damage that the Amulsar mine would cause to various parts of the surrounding areas.

The case has begun on 2018. Environmental activists have shut down the roads.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965094.html

Former deputy chief prosecutor and former October 27 terror attack investigator Gagik Jhangiryan:

TLDR of the following post, but I recommend reading fully: Jhangiryan says Rob didn't have the right to use the army in politics, he didn't have the right to declare the emergency the way he did, he must have known about the existence of 0038 order. Talks about his involvement in March events, and bunch of other things.

Former prosecutor Gagik Jhangiryan says it's impossible that the commander-in-chief Robert Kocharyan was unaware of the existence of the unconstitutional order 0038, because of its scale. It involved moving not only thousands of soldiers, but also machinery. If Kocharyan was truly unaware that the Defense Minister signed the order to enact it, then he would have fired or demoted the Defense Minister immediately after finding out about the military movement without his prior notification (they were brought to Center and entered many buildings). There is a precedence of Rob doing that, for example, with the demotion of Vagharshak Harutyunyan a decade earlier.

Jhangiryan also says the president did not have the legal right to declare a state of the emergency in the way he did.

On 2005 the Constitution was changed and it gave the lawmakers 2 years to make the laws on par with it. Under the old Constitution, Kocharyan would have the right to declare the emergency the way he did, but that law expired on the December 26th of 2007 (emergency was issued on 2008). The Constitution said that a new law must be written that regulates the emergency declaration before it can be declared by the president. When Rob declared it, no such law was written yet, making it impossible to declare an emergency without the lawmakers' approval, which he did not seek.

Jhangiryan also says he violated another law while declaring the emergency, which he did by illegally involving the military in politics. He could have only used the military the way he did if he declared a military emergency (different from the state of the emergency that he declared), but only if Armenia was under attack, a threat of foreign attack, or a war declaration. Jhangiryan says not only he didn't declare the right type of emergency, but he didn't have the legal basis to use the military.

12:56 Kocharyan's lawyer blamed (probably half-sarcastically?) that the declaration of state of emergency partially was due to the fact that Jhangiryan himself (at the time deputy chief prosecutor) had joined the protests in the public square, and some members of Defense Ministry also left the regime and joined the protests. Jhangiryan says he did not have the right to hold the prosecutor's position and protest simultaneously, but he did so either way with the expectation that they would fire him. He didn't want to notify the regime about quitting ahead of time, because he was afraid that "he wouldn't make it to the public square" just like on February 23th when they physically tried to prevent him from joining.

13:30 He says he decided to quit the job as a prosecutor after seeing how victims were being prosecuted as perpetrators, and didn't want to tolerate it.

He was arrested. He says the charges were bogus and he was charged for ripping a police officer's pocket and pushing him. He was jailed for 1 year and 4 months.

Says the former regime then amended the law to clarify when the military can be used during an emergency, and purposely left loopholes to let the government use it on wide range of situations, with the intention of giving themselves the legal right to suppress opposition protests in future. (basically Pashinyan now has that power because the previous regime played itself)

He supports Kocharyan's right to challenge his detention in the European courts, and condemns the idea of hating a specific lawyer just because he represents a controversial figure.

As for the actual shooters on March 1st, Jhangiryan says unfortunately no real investigation was conducted in the past 10 years and the authorities were busy covering things up. Over 100 then-opposition figures were arrested afterwards, but not one government official, says Jhangiryan.

He says the government also lied about one of the police officers being killed by a military grenade on March, because if it was a military grenade then it would have wounded dozens of other officers nearby and create a spot on the ground. The wounds that were present on the officer were not of a military grenade.

He is against an all-out transitional justice system because Armenia doesn't have the right legal staff to handle it, but supports it in a limited form, such as forcing officials to prove that they obtained the property/money legally. He supports semi-presidential system in Armenia, or at least wants the Parliament to have more oversight over Ministries.

Jhangiryan was the former investigator of the October 27 terror attack. He says the investigation was illegally shut down, and he is willing to testify whatever he knows (and says he knows quite a bit) if the current administration decides to re-open the case. 💣 (plz no my fingers are tired)

https://youtu.be/MoDBmoZs54M?t=255

Foreign Ministry denies rumors originated from Hraparak outlet according to which the United States cancelled a meeting with FM Zohrab Mnatsakanyan because of Armenia's humanitarian aid to Aleppo's Armenian district.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155163

The Aleppo Armenians have welcomed the humanitarian aid sent by Armenia.

Western Armenian https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqFjILQlFBE

(ISIS has mostly been defeated and only holds a tiny land on the eastern Syria. US-backed Sunni fighters have lost most of their lands in south, while the US-backed Kurds have made significant gains in the north. The Turkish forces are holding on to their strongholds in north-west, which is where most of the actions take place these days. The biggest winner is the Syrian government which has recovered significant parts of the country. Thousands of Syrian refugees are returning home. Some districts of Aleppo are being actively rebuilt.)

EU will issue a €31.5mln grant to 3 provinces in Armenia to improve the agriculture, travel and the creative industry.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155198

Arsenal Ltd defense company has been given a tax waiver to import products needed to produce weapons. 3bln to be invested. 200 jobs. 250k salary. 44bln annual production.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965047.html

Armenian athlete Levon Aghasyan wins a gold medal after jumping 16.8m in an international competiton held in Turkey.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/965037.html

Turkey has barred an Azeri diplomat from entering the country for "harming the Turkish-Azeri relations".

The diplomat went to an embassy of one of the Caspian Sea Persian Gulf nations and warned that that Turkey was plotting a trap against that nation, during the Islamic Cooperation Organization. The nation's embassy then snitched on the diplomat by notifying about it to Turkey.

After the incident, Azeri authorities conducted an investigation and concluded that the high ranking diplomat Elshad Iskanderov, who works in their Foreign Ministry, spread false information not aligned with official Baku's position.

Great cooperation, bois 👏👏👏

https://www.ermenihaber.am/am/news/2019/02/20/%D4%B1%D5%A4%D6%80%D5%A2%D5%A5%D5%BB%D5%A1%D5%B6-%D4%B9%D5%B8%D6%82%D6%80%D6%84%D5%AB%D5%A1/148449

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155144

Edit: Replaced Caspian Sea with Persian Gulf in the last news.


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/atcrkc/anticorruption_feb212019_state_economic/

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