2019 January 29

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Anti-Corruption Daily

by ar_david_hh

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


The higher court has confirmed the lower court's decision to keep Kocharyan aide and former secretary of Security Council Armen Grigoryan out of jail for now. He is charged with aiding Kocharyan in breaking the Constitutional order, corruption, property embezzlement.

The defense had also asked the higher court to throw away the prosecutor's arguments of probable cause, but the court rejected the defense's request, finding the prosecutor's information to be credible.



Yerevan mayor Hayk Marutyan has announced that employees of all preschools in Yerevan will see their salaries rise 20%, around this April. This won't apply to directors and deputy directors. The municipality will dedicate 1bln funds for the rise.

The average preschool salary at the moment is 70-100k.



Yerevan municipality will dedicate 500mln for a new initiative, in which the city residents can contact the mayor's office with various project ideas for the city. The ideas that gather the most support from other residents will be reviewed. An online platform will be created soon to submit the requests, in addition to mail requests.

This was one of mayor Hayk Marutyan's promises while he was running for mayor.



The city continues to find and stop illegal building constructions. Last week, 10 were caught and 3 were destroyed.

The government plans to pass a new law that will prevent the ability to legalize the buildings that were developed illegally. This will discourage people from thinking they can secretly build now, then use loopholes to legalize later.

The city is working with the police to increase the enforcement of smoking restriction laws for transport drivers.

21 cases of illegal product sales on the streets were prevented last week.



QP has called the IRS chief to Parliament to testify about the bonus salaries paid by the IRS. The IRS chief says his IRS salaries, bonuses and other payments, as regulated by law, have totaled to 18.5mln for the year 2018.

The MPs have spoke about the possibility of passing a law to make the bonus payment info more available to the public, and to improve the communication with IRS.



QP's Lilit Makunts says they are open to legally addressing the concerns around the laws that allow the officials to earn what some in public may view as too much, while at the same time not discouraging smart and professional workers from leaving the government positions to seek private jobs, where they can earn even more. Makunts says "a golden average" should be found.

QP plans to call other public officials to seek similar testimonies.



Some math. The IRS chief earns 12x of the average salary.

To put it into perspective, if Armenia was United States and we calculate the IRS chief's salary versus average salary in Armenia, then compare it to US, the Armenian IRS chief would earn $520,000/yr in United States (including bonuses), which is probably slightly higher than what the actual US IRS chief earns now.

Either our IRS chief earns too much, or he doesn't earn too much for the job title but the average citizen earns too little.


During the salary bonus debate, the Yerevan administration has examined the 2017 bonuses, and discovered that the former mayor HHK Taron Margaryan's office did not publish the info of 287 million that was paid in bonuses throughout the year, in addition to the year-end bonuses.

The documents that were uploaded to the website, that were supposed to show the bonuses, were unrelated and did not contain the necessary information. This was done on purpose because the unrelated documents were uploaded under the document ID which was dedicated specifically for disclosing bonus payments, says mayor's office.

They plan to examine bonus sums for the years prior to 2017.




PM Pashinyan gave an interview to Russian RBK news

during which he stated that Armenia is very much interested in playing a role of a transit country for oil and gas transfers between other countries.



PM says they have agreed with GazProm-Armenia not to raise gas prices for residents for the year 2019. He hopes to extend it further, or to reduce the gas delivery prices beginning next year.



One of the Davos meetings was with Marriot Hotels representatives. Pashinyan says they have agreed to negotiate around building a new hotel near the Iran-Armenia border. Marriott will rent the land and the building, once a construction company finishes the building project, which will be negotiated separately, because Marriott itself doesn't do the construction of their hotels.



The PM was asked if anyone has tried to bribe him so far.

He recalled one incident in which a businessman tried to enter his office with money and a business plan. The security guards were told to prevent the businessman from entering his office with money again.

This was immediately after a meeting he convened with businesses and investors, during which he encouraged more investments with no fear of illegal oligarchic takeover.



Johannes Hahn, the chairman of European Neighborhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations, says the EU is aware of the improvements in the investment atmosphere in Armenia. This was discussed during the latest visit in Yerevan, during which they spoke about the possible formation of a new investment committee which will encourage EU countries on invest in Armenia.

Hahn says the EU will certainly increase its aid to Armenia after the major reforms and improvements that begun last year.

He says the EU is open to reform its visa regime with Armenia.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/153470 ------ http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/153459


The government will begin to use digital paper instead of paper for some work, to save the nature and to cut printing related costs, says PM's office. The PM's office alone spends 1.5mln per month on paperwork. Other departments could join later.




Last year, an Armenian company and Russian Kalashnikov military manufacturer announced a plan to produce AK rifles in Armenia.

Kalashnikov CEO says the process continues; they have finished examining the legal part around the CSTO military agreement.



Special Investigation Service (SIS) has denied the rumors by Jamanak paper that former HHK MP Gevorg Kostanyan has been interviewed for a job as the Deputy Chief of SIS.


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/al5i6e/anticorruption_jan292019/

2018 Daily Armenia Reports








2019 Daily Armenia Reports