2019 March 19
Anti-Corruption Mar/19/2019: -- Former deputy Defense Minister recalls more details about Robert Kocharyan and events that led to October 27 terror attack; $1.5bln --- a mayor charged --- Yerevan mayor contacts prosecutors --- hospital staff being investigated --- $12.5mln for TUMO --- more blow...
All the accused are innocent until proven guilty by the court of law. Currency in Armenian Drams unless specified otherwise.
PM Nikol Pashinyan is giving a press conference. Here are some of the new things we didn't know so far :
Says mortgage landings have doubled on February compared to the same month of 2018, as a result of government policies. Mortgage landing portfoilo has risen 30%. This is huge, and that means soon we're going to have a lot of construction, construction material manufacturing, and related service jobs, says PM.
Various businesses are currently discussing $2.7bln (1 trillion 312 billion) worth investments with the government. $774mln (376bln) worth investments are already in the process of being made.
EU has agreed to issue grants to complete 13 projects in Armenia, which includes a construction of 20 reservoirs, roads, police reforms, energy sector development, education, justice reform, taxation reforms.
However, EU expects Armenia to pay some % of this. The problem is there is a law in Armenia that prohibits the debt-to-GDP ratio from going above a specific limit. The government will have to discuss with Central Bank and experts to see if the projects are worth moving the limits to borrow money externally, to co-subsidy these projects.
EU isn't trying to shut down the nuclear power plant, but to discuss the creation of equal substitutes of energy.
PM says Roboserj clan is spending huge amounts of sums for a black-PR against the new government. The propaganda is spread from 3 headquarters, but the government values freedom of speech and they won't be silenced.
Says the old regimes are trying to create an atmosphere of turbulence and instability, but they won't succeed.
Says the Roboserj political days are over they can't chase the train regardless of how many billions they spend. They should apologize to people and move on.
PM says the government is working with private investors to help create a foundation that provides aid to journalism in Armenia. No government funds will be given to these media organizations in order not to establish control over them.
A journalist asked why the logs show that Pashinyan's helicopter makes numerous flights, but it doesn't match with PM's flying schedule. PM explains that the helicopter is required to make routine flights as part of a maintenance to prevent "rust", so it often makes empty flights.
PM spoke about the smear campaign against his family members. Said his wife and children sometimes join the trips because the family needs to be together. He criticized HHK for pretending to be the defenders of family values, while at the same time being against this.
Context: Roboserj outlets spread misinformation about PM's family members spending large amounts of government funds on trips to EU, while accompanying Pashinyan.
Pashinyan urges the Roboserj officials to return the stolen lands. Specifically, he is referring to lands near Meghri's free economic zone, which were embezzled by local officials for pennies, after a deal with the former PM Hovik Abrahamyan's staff. The case is being investigated now, I wrote about this earlier.
Same about Manvel Grigoryan illegally obtaining lands through rigged auctions. All these lands will be returned, says PM.
This is one reason why we need a transitional justice system, which Armenia committed to, by signing international declarations says PM. The EU and UN have urged Armenia to implement these reforms. He says the officials who say it'll block international investments in Armenia, are misleading the public, and in reality they are afraid of losing their illegally obtained dachas.
Says the work is being done to form a brand new anti-corruption body in Armenia, but there is an ongoing debate of what powers it should have. It's shouldn't become a "country within a country". Some countries went as far as to establish special Anti-Corruption Courts, says PM.
200,000 people have seen tier salaries risen, and 85,000 poor citizens had their pension aid increased.
Pashinyan has urged Armenia and Azeri social media users to be civil and not curse at one another. YOU HEARD THE MAN?
PM says Armenia is willing to exchange the Azeri civilian who crossed the border, with the Armenian civilian held captive in Azerbaijan. No murderer will be exchanged for an innocent civilian, however.
PM reminded that March 23rd is a country-wide shabatoryak, and hopes everyone will participate in cleanup operations. He says the #1 visual problem in Armenia, is garbage.
http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156981 ---- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156968 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156970 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156981 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156982 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156986 ---- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156994 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/156996 --- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/157026
NSS has busted the mayor of Marmashen for colluding with other municipality staff to embezzle funds he claimed where spent on war veterans.
Yerevan mayor Marutyan says half of the administrative buildings of Davtashen and Erebuni district were, possibly illegally, sold to an individual. One library and playground were also sold. He sent the information to prosecutors' office to investigate whether laws were broken.
Yerevan municipality has issued a 1.5bln fine to a construction company for failing to comply with the agreement on 2018 about and Argavand bridge related construction. Mayor says the funds were sent to state budget; he hoped to see the funds go to Yerevan budget, however.
Prosecutors have launched a criminal investigation for abuse of power and embezzlement, after a low income family came forward with information that on 2107, Avan's psychiatric hospital's high ranking officials demanded a bribe to give them medication and paperwork that was supposed to be free.
Mayor Hayk Marutyan has pardoned pre-December 2018 property taxes for 674 war veterans, families of war victims, some people with disabilities.
On 2019, Yerevan municipality has doubled the aid provided to city's hospitals to obtain medical equipment.
After the government got rid of dozens of cars, they opened the parking lot and turned it into a street. Drivers can now use it to bypass the dreaded traffic of Baghramyan Avenue.
PM's office held talks with soda producing company chiefs and will make changed to the upcoming anti-sugar health bill in order to prevent some companies from going bankrupt entirely.
The police has arrested a thieve-in-law Astrakhantsi Hayko, and seized a self-made weapon.
Yerevan's psychiatric clinic has stopped using plain ropes and wires to subdue unruly patients. They are now using special suits that do the job more humanely. Earlier, Human Rights Ombudsman notified the Social Affairs Ministry about violations in another psychiatric clinic.
EU has awarded TUMO tech center a $12.5mln grant to further develop the STEM field. The center provides free STEM education to 14,000 students aged 12-18.
Former deputy defense minister and Vazgen Sargsyan's close ally Vahan Shirkhanyan has written another open letter to Rob Kocharyan, accusing the latter of lying about several things in his book. Shirkhanyan is "reminding" Kocharyan about the following events. These are his accounts:
1) June, 1992. Artsakh capital Stepanakert's public square and the stadium were housing 35,000 refugees from Shahumyan and Martakert (which fell to Azeri hands when the war begun). Vahan notified Rob (who was an Artsakh official at the time) that they should house these people in the 5 liberated villages near Stepanakert, including in Shushi and Khojalu. Vahan said he would get the Armenian government send aid to these people. They couldn't house them in Armenia because the 1988 earthquake filled up all shelters. Vahan went to Lachin temporarily, where he met another refugee group, before returning to Stepanakert.
While returning, Vahan saw on the road a large group of refugees, some hungry and without shoes. Vahan asked them where they were headed, and refugees told them that Rob Kocharyan told them to go to Armenia, because there is no place in Artsakh. Vahan arrived to Stepanakert, met Rob, and begun cursing at him. Rob didn't respond. Artsakh lost 35,000 citizens because of Rob, says Vahan. Most of these people later left Armenia for another country. Vahan accuses Rob of being careless and incapable of being a leader.
2) March 30, 1998The 2nd round of presidential elections are happening. Vahan accuses Rob of stealing elections. Rob got 27% and Karen Demirchyan (later murdered) got 73%, but Rob rigged it, promising Prime Minister's position to Demirchayn, says Vahan.
4) 2 months after Rob appointed himself as president, concerned Vazgen Sargsyan called Vahan to his office. Vazgen told Vahan that they need to create a new party and compete against Rob, because the latter hates Armenia. "Unlike you, Vazgen chose the legal method to fight", says Vahan. Rob was terrified of Vazgen-Demirchyan alliance, says Vahan.
3) December 10, 1998. Artsakh's Internal Affairs deputy minister Khorkhoruni was murdered. Vahan suspects Rob's connection, noting that Rob forgot to write in his book how bad the relations were between Rob and Khorkhoruni. Vahan says the murder of Khorkhoruni "made the October 27th possible".
5) On 1999, Vazgen was disgusted by Rob and didn't want to send him (now president) some defense information, and instead sent it to Vahan. No one greeted Rob when he arrived to Defense Ministry. Rob was furious. It was unprecedented when a commander-in-chief was ignored.
6) Vahan shames Rob with a few memories. On April 1999, Vazgen refused to fly to USA with Rob in the same plane, and took Vahan (Vazgen's right hand) with him instead. Upon the arrival, the Azeri side was greeted ceremoniously by Medeline Albright, but nothing was done for the Armenian president. Rob later allegedly embarrassed himself during an English speech. Vahan wonders asks Rob hasn't added those in his book, in which he bragged as a good leader.
7) June 1999, Vazgen Sargsyan became the Prime Minister. Rob told him that the budget had a 37bln deficit. It turns out it was 137bln. Vahan asks where all that money went during Rob's 2 year governance.
A week later, Vazgen discovered that $400,000,000 was also stolen. That was the money Russia gave to Armenia for gas pipeline works. It was embezzled, says Vahan.
8) June 1999, PM Vazgen instructed his ministers not to talk or discuss issues with president Rob without his permission. Only one minister didn't follow the instruction, that was Serj Sargsyan. Serj removed from the position of Internal Affairs Minister.
9) July 1999, Vazgen created a committee to examine the legality of sales of various very large mining and tech companies. Vazgen believed $1.5bln in damages was done to state by Rob's regime. Few months later, the October 27th terror attack happened, and it got Rob off the hook.
10) August 1999. Vazgen was choosing the workers to hire for important positions. Zero trust towards Rob.
11) September 1999, Vazgen returned from USA and told Vahan that "scumbag" Rob agreed to give Meghri province to Azerbaijan, in exchange for Lachin corridor. Karen Demirchyan also found out about this and got furious at Rob.
12) September 1999, one month before the attack, Vazgen discovered that he was being spied on. 8 hidden audio recorders were found in his apartment and work place. Vahan hints that state agencies must have been behind it due to the sophistication.
13) September 1999, Vazgen begun the process of returning the stolen funds by the Rob's government officials, after USA authorities told him about the existence of suspicious bank accounts owned by Armenian officials. Vazgen forced Serj to agree to invest $200,000,000 back into the economy. Others had to invest $70mln, 20, etc.
14) Few days before October 27th, 1999, Vazgen and Vahan met Rob to discuss the sale of Shoghakn factory. Vazgen was furious about Rob's plans and cursed at him. They believed Rob was maliciously harming the country. Vazgen barely controlled himself not to throw the table on Rob.
15) October 27, 1999. Vahan was in the Parliament building while the shots were being fired. Vahan calls Rob's office to ask him to hold talks with the terrorists because that was the demand. Rob refused to answer Vahan's calls on 4 occasions. Rob appeared 3.5 hours later. Vahan believes that Rob was hesitant to come out of "hiding" because he was stretching time with a hope that Vazgen's allies will storm the Parliament building, kill the terrorist, thus solving a problem for Rob. But that didn't happen, and Rob spoke with the terrorists 13 hours late on purpose, to let the wounded die in the building, says Vahan.
16) Blames Rob of inaction.
17) Vahan accuses Rob of lying about the excuse that the Parliament building was in chaos upon Rob's arrival. The military police was guarding the situation. Rob called Vahan, prosecutor Gagik Jhangiryan and one other official to an office in Parliament to discuss the plan of actions. Jhanginyan suggested to attach to the record the fact that the terrorist leader Nairi Hunanyan was at some point an NSS informant or an agent (confirmed by several people). Rob refused to allow this and chose to keep it secret.
18) Vahan accuses Rob of lying in his book, in which Rob wrote that Russia offered and send their ALPHA spetsnaz unit, after which Rob apparently was in charge and instructed them to take a position, etc. Vahan says Rob was the one who begged Russia for help, but Rob himself never participated in managing this group's actions.
19) 9 hours after the arrival, Rob met Nairi Hunanyan one-on-one, but refused to have a recorder or a witness, a violation of protocols.
20) Vahan accuses Rob of poor management after the tragedy, followed by Rob replacing numerous Vazgen-allied high ranking officials with Rob allies.
Vahan says Rob asked the church Catholocos and various ambassadors to hold direct talks with Vazgen's allies, to convince them not to retaliate against Rob, because Vazgen's allies suspected Rob was behind the attack. Vahan says they (Vazgen's people) agreed not to retaliate, but they "shouldn't have agreed".
21) Rob promised he would resign as president, but wanted to stay until an ARM-AZ meeting in Istanbul. Vahan says Rob went there, signed under a document that protects "Azerbaijan's territorial integrity", then upon returning home, refused to resign and chose to divide and conquer Vazgen's allies.
Rob gave positions and other stuff to some of Vazgen's allies to win their alliance and remove his resignation from the agenda, says Vahan.
(Terrorist Nairi Hunanyan had loudly suggested that the government members should be killed for plundering the country, on several occasions several months before the attack, while at the presence of other people. The security agencies were made aware of this, but nothing was done. Shortly before the attack, Nairi Hunanyan told in details about his shooting plans to people close to him during a party. Before this, Hunanyan was trying to create a union consisted of military vets. Hunanyan had a record of cooperation with NSS on some occasions. He was a journalist by profession.)
22) Vahan Shirkhanyan addresses some personal attacks against him written by Rob in the book.
http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/157043 ----- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/102825 --- http://www.chi.am/index.cfm?objectID=80F51EE0-8DC0-11E0-9A42005056A30FF7&year=2006&month=12&legacyURL=061201/06120110 ----- https://youtu.be/C2Ja7XQIbnQ?t=132
Armenian team wins bronze in the European shooting competition.
Kazakhstan's president Nursultan Nazarbayev has resigned from the president's position. He'll remain as the head of the ruling party. He has been in power since 1990.
Link to original report: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/b341vh/anticorruption_mar192019_former_deputy_defense/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|