2019 January 31
Anti-Corruption Jan/31/19: / IRS catches company - 1.4bln underpaid / Gyumri police to investigate officials for abusing earthquake housing fund / More healthcare & dental / School admission transparency / Optimizations / other...
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
IRS is investigating a construction company SahakyanShin for not paying 1.4 billion in taxes on 2014. The investigation continues.
Gyumri police has launched a criminal investigation against public officials tasked with distributing housing to survivors of 1988 earthquake, after a non-profit director tasked with coordinating the campaign came forward with information of abuse.
Several officials, including Gyumri municipality workers, are accused of falsifying documents to issue multiple apartments to one family on multiple occasions, falsifying the records that the temporary shelters were dismantled.
The suspects have asked the criminal cases to be dropped due to statue of limitations and amnesty. The alleged incidents took place 27 years ago.
The prosecutors have launched a criminal case.
Police chief Osipyan has fired the heads of Kotayk and Abovyan police chiefs. The reason is insufficient work, either while investigating or preventing, regarding an incident in Abovyan that took place few days ago. A fight broke out, 1 dead and several wounded from a gunshot.
Former MP Shshi Melo's son is one of the suspects in the incident. Criminal charges are pressed. The prosecutors have asked the judge for an arrest warrant.
Melo's family members got in an argument with gas station workers, which turned into a gunfight. Several other participants have been detained.
As part of spending optimization, the government has dissolved a government-run public opinion research organization.
The same service can be purchased from a private company for much less resources.
Last year, the Education Minister promised to launch an online registration portal to make student registration process more transparent to reduce corruption, allow parents to see which institutions have free spots, and to remove the possibility of directors abusing their powers during student admissions.
The website has launched at mankapartez.yerevan.am
During the government session, Healthcare Minister Torosyan has proposed changes to the law, according to which more people will be covered by a health coverage.
The low income families, WW2 vets, people in elderly houses and homeless shelters, workers who helped to clean Chernobyl nuclear plant, human trafficking victims, prison inmates:
These groups will soon receive the same comprehensive free coverage that only low income people used to receive. They will also receive 18 new health services for free, including eye/brain/heart/etc surgeries. Ministry has taken actions to reduce corruption so patients won't be asked by doctors for more cash.
230,000 people will be covered by this new 500mln coverage. The predicted number of actual people who will actively seek the care is expected to go up by 4,000.
The second proposed change is about dental care. Low income families, disabled people, all kids under 7, kids under 12 who are from poor families, men who enter military draft period or pre-period, will receive free dental care without a co-payment.
The pro-Kocharyan network which published a film with misleading claims about March 1st events, was not directly financed by Kocharyan, says his lawyer Alumyan.
A Russia-based businessman contacted Kocharyan and asked for an interview, and he was allegedly also trying to include Pashinyan and LTP in it, but they refused to take part.
The film was condemned by the families of victims of March 1st, who said they were deceptively used by the producers for the propaganda piece, which was initially presented to them as a documentary about the victims alone. The families believe Kocharyan holds responsibility for the death of their sons.
The government will partially subsidy water cleaning and delivery process by Veolia Water to keep the costs down.
Minister of Economic Development and Investments Tigran Khachatryan says Teghut mining company, which had financial difficulties with its bank and had to suspend the operations last year, is still negotiating with the bank. He thinks it's possible to renew the operations later once it's done.
Minister says Teghut produced and exported $120mln products annually, and its financial difficulties and subsequent closure is the reason why the mining sector of the economy performed bad last year.
Minister says Amulsar miner hasn't exported quantifiable products yet, so they can't calculate what the lost income is due to its current suspension.
The government has met Eddy Rich, the representatives of the international mining transparency organization, as part of the plan to let the public know who the actual mining sector owners are.
The way it is planned to work is, the Justice Ministry will verify the accuracy of the information provided by legal entities running the mining, before they are published for public consumption.
They'll also create an anti-corruption body, a platform for anonymous reporting, and a method to find conflicts of interests in the industry. The organization has expressed willingness to provide support.
Earlier we leaned that the Parliament plans to pass a law requiring mining owner names to be revealed and published.
Yerevan municipality says it has a 90% efficiency in fighting illegal street trade. They have "finished the educational stage and have begun the enforcement".
There are currently 1,540 available spots in 24 markets where the street traders can move to.
President of Belarus House of Reps. says they'll send a team of experts to Armenia to talk about a plan to create an elevator producing factory in Armenia.
They also want to cooperate to modernize the transportation in Armenia. (Yerevan is currently looking to buy a new bus fleet.)
Belarus wants to strengthen its economic ties with Armenia, and welcomes the current increase of goods and travelers.
Pashinyan is in Germany. He met the administration of Koln University and signed a cooperation agreement between Koln and Yerevan Politeknik University.
Koln mayor has agreed to visit Armenia.
(Angela Markel visited Armenia last year, invited Pashinyan to Germany, and expressed interest in TUMO education and tech sector of Armenia.)
During the visit, Pashinyan was asked what he thinks about Fake News in Armenia.
PM said he finds freedom of speech more important than regulating it legally.
Says he has discussed it during the Davos meeting. It's a complex issue. There are many fake articles on social media about him and his family, but the free speech is important, said Pashinyan.
Says education and better knowledge of tech can help to solve the problem.
(cave man fell short of saying go sub to daily anti-corruption thread)
The general prosecutor has asked the Cassations Court to review the case of M. Sakhatelyan, who was arrested for allegedly fighting with cops during March 1st events, and carrying a knife.
Sakhatelyan accused the authorities of violation of human rights and took them to ECHR years ago, which ruled that Sakhatelyan must be freed.
Prosecutors just took the ECHR decision to Cassations Court to have them request a new court hearing.
Education Ministry will provide 1bln to high schools to prevent the teacher wages from lowering.
Minister Araik Harutyunyan says these schools have been neglected for a long time. The class materials are bad, worst school buildings were issued to them, and the practice of no critical thinking has deepened in the curriculum.
On January of 2018, the Ministry tried to save money at the expense of these schools, which resulted in quality and coefficient drop, which then promoted to reduce their funding even further. A 350mln aid was then used to prevented the wage decrease last year.
Komersant Russian paper says Armenia will not use all of the latest military loan for fighter jets, and will purchase 4 units for now, at the internal rate paid by Russia. They will be delivered on 2020.
Armenian military spokesman has not confirmed this https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I01hfquH0n8
It is the first time that Armenia is purchasing brand new and unused new generation fighter jets, which the spokesman says are an important tool for modern warfare, especially their capabilities for medium and long distance strikes. A purchase attempt was made on 2012, but the talks fell short due to pricing. The new administration revived the plans on 2018.
Units owned by other nations: Russia 100, Kazakhstan 12, Myanmar 6, TBA Belarus.
The PM and Presidents occasionally pardon prisoners.
Inmate Mher Yenokyan's friends had asked the government to pardon him as well. He was arrested for getting into a fight and murdering his classmate on 1996. His friends argue that it was self defense, he has since rehabilitated, became a writer and has shown remorse, and asked clemency for the life sentence.
It appears that PM Pashinyan has rejected the pardon, at least for now, according to Aysor. PM sent a document to President with the names of people to be pardoned, but Yenokyan wasn't on it.
The economic activity grew by 5.8% on 2018
Azerbaijan will increase the commercial gas prices for Georgia by 10.5% beginning March.
Georgia: AMD 174 per m3. Armenia: AMD 139.
I will leave this here for your consumption. It's an opinion peace, which I don't often post here, but this was interesting. It's about gas, politics, and Pashinyan's recent remarks that Armenia wants to be a gas transfer country between other nations.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/alusdp/anticorruption_jan3119_irs_catches_company_14bln/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|