2019 May 3

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Anti-Corruption May/3/2019: NSS busts Ministry employees... Investigation launches after man testifies he paid bribe to former high ranking Yerevan official... A mayor found guilty... School director... Land reforms... Could church be taxed?.... Stricter driver license exams... Fake news...more
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.


The NSS has busted several employees working under Ministry of Social Affairs & Labor, in Lori province. NSS says the administrator and staff of an office, which examines residents to decide whether they have disabilities, took bribes from the residents to register healthy ones as disabled so they could receive aid. One official is arrested. Felony charges are filed.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160543

The authorities have launched a criminal investigation after a construction owner told the IRS that several years ago he paid a 19mln bribe to a district-leader in Yerevan, after which the city illegally authorized him to launch a construction. No names for now.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160600

Yeghvard School 1 director is facing felony charges for allegedly abusing his powers between 2010-2017. You already know how, but just in case.... he is accused of hiring non-existent workers then stealing their salaries and aid that the workers were entitled to.

He also stole money by falsifying documents to receive parental-leave funding, say the police. 3mln was recovered. He is told not to leave the country.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160601

We've seen many mayors charged with various embezzlement crimes in the past year. Felony lawsuits can last a long time. Now we're starting to see some actual verdicts.

Mikhailovka's former mayor has been sentenced to 5.5 years in prison and a 2 year ban on holding a similar public position, for stealing villagers' aid. He will have to return the stolen money fully.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/973532.html --- http://www.prosecutor.am/am/mn/7142/

Update: The government has been discussing a law to reform the land ownership and usage, citing the fact that almost half of arable lands are gone unused in Armenia. They will require the landlord of an arable land, that has gone unused for 2 years, to lease (or sell) the land to someone who wants to utilize it, then pay the lease money back to landlord. The practice is used in many developed nations.

"As many as 20% of the land owners are impossible to identify or find". Some people left and abandoned their properties, says Ministry.

When an arable land goes unused for lengthy periods, it later becomes useless for agriculture, says the Agriculture Ministry.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160546

The government will no longer require low-income aid recipients to visit banks to get their deposit balance and loan records for the purpose of showing it to Social Aid worker as an additional proof that they are still low income.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160554

One of the "easy" ways some politicians stole money from the budget was exaggerating the amount of fuel they were spending for work purposes, then stealing the money deducted from the budget. Several officials were caught.

The Pashinyan administration begun cutting on state-issued cars and fuel expenditure. Cadastre Committee has also joined the ranks, with some officials using 4x less fuel compared to past.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160589

Pashinyan met the church leader, spoke about church stuff, thanked for the cultural contribution.

He also casually threw hints that the church should start paying taxes. It can also be interpreted as him asking the church to help to educate the public that the taxes should be paid. (my bet is on the former)

Nikol: "երբ այսօր ընդլայնված քարոզարշավ ենք տանում՝ քաղաքացիներին կոչ անելով հարկեր վճարել, որովհետև այդ վճարված հարկերի արդյունքում է ձևավորվում և ձևակերպվում այն աշխատանքի ծավալը, որ կառավարությունը հնարավորություն ունի անելու: Մենք այստեղ պետք է հստակ ասենք, որ ունենք նաև Հայ Առաքելական Եկեղեցու աջակցության կարիքը, որպեսզի պետական այս ընկալումն ավելի ու ավելի խորն արմատավորվի մեր իրականության մեջ:"

He said the IRS is expected to collect 40bln more than expected this year. It'll help to raise soldier and teacher salaries later this year, and invest in projects.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160583

2019Q1 vs 2018Q1

The industrial production is up 2% despite the fact that mining industry is down 20%. The mining is partially down due to the fact that 2019Q1 metal prices on the intentional markets are 15% lower than on 2018Q1. Other reasons are the planned suspensions of some operations, which will resume later this year. (Some mines had financial and legal problems as well). The 2% overall growth is due to a strong 8% growth in processing industry, says Development Minister.

Economic activity 7%. Domestic trade turnover activity 10%. Services industry up 17%, higher increase than in past. Import/export down by 5.9% in average. Construction up 11%. Agriculture remained the same. The investments (internal and/or foreign) aren't at a level they are hoping to see, so the government is working to remove obstacles.

Armenia will join the EAEU system of electronic signatures. Businesses and government bodies will more easily sign deals in other countries.

Because of EAEU membership, 500 imported products prices will soon rise for Armenian consumers, including products which will negatively affect the living standards for many. The decision was made 5 years ago but only now it is going into full effect due to the initial "cooloff" period expiring soon. On a positive side, EAEU provides more economic opportunities for Armenian businesses to make exports to EAEU states at a favorable conditions, says Minister.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160558 ---- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160559 --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/973511.html --- https://factor.am/147213.html --- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/973527.html

The government will propose a bill to require shops to inform the buyers through a written tag, that they have the right to return a non-food items within 2 weeks of purchase. There are complaints that some shops refuse to acknowledge or respect the law, and that consumers aren't utilizing their rights.

.........................

The government will propose another bill to loosen the punishment for businesses which don't properly label the products with a required tag that shows they've paid taxes and stuff. A felony will be replaced by an administrative fine.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/973554.html ---- https://armenpress.am/arm/news/973560.html

A new information website will be published by Ministry of Development soon, which will allow new businesses to learn how to navigate through legal things the smart and fast way.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/973598.html

April-2019 vs April-2018: Car imports have increased by 119%. (It is expected that the imports will significantly reduce once the new EAEU laws taxing old and non-EAEU cars apply)

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160571

The UN will repair 30 kindergartens in Yerevan. The city will also spend 1.3bln on these kindergarten repairs, and dedicate extra 236mln on garbage collection.

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160533 ---- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160617

Yerevan has issued another 26mln fine to Sanitek garbage collector for failing to do its duties. http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160563

Armenian DMV will make drivers license exams stricter. 1000 questions instead of current 600.

It'll also change several traffic rules, e.x. to give the right-of-way to the car that is already inside the roundabout. Until now, the cars inside the roundabout crossroad was supposed to yield to the car that later approached from the right.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/268415/ ---- http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160618

Boxing Spoiler alert: Canadian-Armenian Erik Bazinyan defends his WBA WBO title. Full video: http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160555

Ministry of Healthcare has criticized Roboserj 5th channel for spreading "misinformation and stoking fears of vaccines". The Ministry says the network lied during a "Forced Vaccinations" news segment. Vaccination campaigns have launched since 2005 and are voluntary; children get vaccinated with a parental consent. Ministry earlier asked cellphone carriers to send SMS messages encouraging people to vaccinate themselves.

http://www.panarmenian.net/arm/news/268436/

US-based media organization Atlantic Council has published an investigation of several Roboserj media outlets disguised as "fact checkers" that spread misinformation, one-sided interpretations, and black PR against Pashinyan and his allies.

The investigation talks about how the activists (AntiFake, Adekvad, SutNikol, Blognews, etc) consolidated and launched a coordinated smear campaign against the PM, sometimes using their opinion and non-factual articles as their sources to claim they are fact-checking the PM. Their content has gathered hundreds of thousands of views.

The investigation also reveals that one of these outlets is registered in Russia by an unknown person or an organization.

PART 1 https://medium.com/dfrlab/armenia-assailed-by-deceptive-fact-checking-groups-part-i-the-players-2ce03daf2d28

PART 2 https://medium.com/dfrlab/armenia-assailed-by-deceptive-fact-checking-groups-part-2-the-coordination-2276bb6e3b2e

http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/160598

Azeri snipers at Artsakh borders used a sniper to fire at a truck transporting food for soldiers. https://razm.info/135127

Armenia. 10 pistas en el Jardín del Edén

http://etheriamagazine.com/2019/05/02/viajar-sola-que-ver-armenia/


Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/bke8th/anticorruption_may32019_nss_busts_ministry/

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