2019 November 26
Anti-Corruption & News TLDRs - Nov/26/2019 :: Yerevan municipality _ Park _ Streets _ Donations _ Cemeteries :: LHK Party :: NSS :: Fake News :: Artsakh & Azerbaijan :: Police torture vid :: Counterfeit penalty :: Human Rights Ombudsman :: Mayor bust :: Kocharyan :: Serj & 7 :: Finances & stats :: +
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.
Bad news first!
Kanye West doesn't want Kim Kardashian to take naked pics anymore because it's against religious principles. Kim decided to be more modest from now on, but says it's was her decision.
She also had to tone it down because it's uncomfortable to scroll her Instagram pics with the kids sitting next to her.
The video showing a group of cops torturing a man isn't 5 years old, it was from 2008-2010, according to SIS chief Sasun Khachatryan, whose agency is investigating the officers. They identified the time-frame based on the records that showed those officers served in that station together.
SIS chief says at the time the "torture laws" weren't the same as today, which is why the perpetrators will be charged with "physical violence with a weapon while exceeding powers" laws.
1 high ranking police officer was suspended yesterday. 2 other policemen in the video aren't in the police forces as of right now.
Former police chief Alik Sargsyan says he is/was unaware of the incident (he served as police chief at the time). Another former police chief Vladimir Gasparyan once said, "We used to beat up and humiliate, but we don't do it anymore. We are tolerant." Alik Sargsyan doesn't know what Gasparyan meant by that.
Felony investigation continues.
Yerevan has 200 hectare parks and 700 hectare cemeteries. Yesterday the Healthcare Minister said there are plans to open 2 modern cremation centers as an alternative option to the current practices.
A govt-funded agency plans to spend 60mln next year to partially renovate 4 cemeteries, out of the 21.
The church is against cremation.
Yerevan municipality earlier purchased 35 Kamaz trucks for garbage cleaning. The deal left a sour taste in opposition Luys members' mouth, who accused mayor Marutyan of favoritism towards Kamaz and for "ignoring other truck companies". Mayor said only Kamaz met the engine power requirements, which guarantees that the trucks will last longer than the competition in Armenia's conditions.
Besides these garbage trucks, the city also obtained trucks for snow and other purposes. Some of the trucks were donated to the city by businesses and charities.
The truck debate got spicy.
Recently municipality opposition Luys chief Khajakyan claimed that former HHK oligarch and currently large businessman Lfik Samo (Samvel Aleksanyan) donated some of those trucks to the city. Luys accused the mayor of not being transparent.
(Context: Opposition likes to bring up Lfik Samo with an attempt to "shame" QP for any ties with the former regime. Earlier, 1st lady was criticized because the children's cancer treatment foundation that she manages received a donation from Lfik Samo, which was used to help treat hundreds of kids.)
Mayor's office responded to Lfik allegation saying that Lfik did not donate those trucks, but some of the new trucks were in fact donations by others . "If any business or individual wants to donate an equipment to the city, we would only be happy to accept it. No business would receive a favorable treatment after a donation", said a municipality official.
Mayor Marutyan: city did not receive any trucks from Lfik Samo. About 20 vehicles were donated by donors whose names I don't recall, and they don't always want to be publicly identified either. I want to thank anyone who donates to the city. Our budget isn't always enough to solve all the problems, and we're thankful to donors, including diasporan Armenians, when they donate. We purchased 35 trucks, and got 20 more as a donation.
City will issue these donors "thank you" notices for helping the homeless with sheltering, donating equipment, etc.
Things got extra spicy while discussing construction permits and businesses. Accusations of manipulation were thrown around.
Another great day at Council, the best place to enjoy your oily popcorn 🍿🍿🍿
Luys party to mayor Marutyan:
Your 5-year agenda presented recently doesn't include important things like transportation.
It's part of our daily work, we're working on it. I just got back from a vacation during which I met people in Europe to discuss transport and garbage collection.
As for residential buildings that are officially unsafe for residents' lives due to structural damage, it is currently outside of our legal reach. Nonetheless we have some obligations. We suggest the govt to pass a law about high rise apartment buildings to allow us to forcefully relocate residents from such buildings, even if they object.
In some cases we found a construction company who negotiated with residents to destroy and rebuild the building.
People have lost trust in govt after years of abuse, so it's hard to convince them to relocate for 2 years until a new building is done. We'll do our best to get them the best legal deal.
Yerevan municipality has blocked former BHK MP oligarch Tsaghik Rubo's (Ruben Hayrapetyan) attempt to build a building in the place of a former Daisy Park.
Mayor Marutyan: we used Google images and verified that the area used to be a park with trees before it was mysteriously destroyed and turned into a hole. We are suspicious about how Rubo obtained the land. We contacted the law enforcement. If they say it's legal, the construction will proceed.
MP Tsaghik Rubo complained that the city is preventing him from "making investments".
(Context: Former regime used to privatize green zones in Yerevan by selling them to their allies, some of whom cut down the trees to build օբյեկտs.)
Yerevan mayor Marutyan:
We're going to install traffic lights on every intersection in which the streets have >6 lanes. It's for safety. We'll either install push-button lights (YES!), or underground passages (NO!).
Protection of Economic Competition committee launched an investigation against businessman Lfik Samo's Alco Import Export LLC business, and announced that it'll issue the company a 32mln fine for "unfair competition".
Last month Russia also complained that Lfik is producing copycat vodkas. For that violation, Lfik received a 16mln penalty.
Today marks the 15th anniversary of establishment of Human Rights Ombudsman's office in Armenia.
Pashinyan praised HRO's work saying it's a balancing force against the govt, even if the govt has good intentions. Mentioned that the first 3 HROs quit their jobs ahead of time, the history has been rocky, but despite the pessimistic attitude in the early stages, the institute has been successfully established. Says the justice system is another institute related to human rights and it should be completely revamped.
Speaker Mirzoyan: There are no political barriers against HRO. Parliament is actively working with HRO for an opinion before passing laws. Some of the recent justice reform bills are written by HRO.
HRO ombudsman Tatoyan: The HRO office works with UN. It must be independent and apolitical. We need independent judicial system and developed institutions to preserve human rights. We welcome the recent initiative to bring back the Human Rights and Public Affairs Committee into the Parliament. NGOs are our friends, we want to continue to work with them.
NSS is investigating a case related to a dispute and criminal allegations between two dairy companies: Ashtarak Kat and Pargev Firm. The investigation begun last year.
As part of the investigation, NSS conducted searches in a lawyer's office who represented Pargev Firm. The court gave NSS a permission, but mentioned that they cannot confiscate materials directly related to lawyer-client secrecy.
When NSS tried go confiscate a laptop they believed contained evidence, the lawyer objected, saying the laptop contains a lawyer-client secret. The lawyer hired lawyers to defend his claim. Human Rights Ombudsman office was contacted.
The NSS did not confiscate the laptops. They are both under lawyer's possession.
NSS later released a statement in which they complained that "lawyer's license is not a ticket for lawlessness", and that they were looking for evidence that was outside of aforementioned secrecy clause. They criticized some outlets for misreporting the story.
Mayor of Vardenut, Aragatsotn and his secretary are facing felony charges. They admitted to purposely underpaying 2 employees, and registering 1 fake employee.
ARF is still trying to get Education Minister fired over the proposed reforms. They asked LHK to raise the topic in Parliament.
LHK refused, saying they've already tried to get the Economy Minister fired, thus reaching their legal limit of trying to get people fired in the period being.
In the next period LHK plans to get others fired, and won't be able to join ARF's circlejerk against Minister Arayik Harutyunyan.
ARF: be my frend?
LHK: solly man, I no like other Minister more
The court is hearing a Kocharyan petition whether the prosecutor should be replaced.
During the court session, another March 1st defendant Yuri Khachaturov's lawyer told the judge that the prosecutor is doing "political orders".
The prosecutor raised an objection.
The lawyer yelled at the prosecutor, telling him to be quiet. A back and forth shouting competition ensued. The judge told them to be quiet.
The prosecutor asked the judge to discipline the lawyer for denying his "right to raise objections during a trial".
Judge Anna Danibekyan eventually rejected Kocharyan's petition to replace the prosecutor.
"He is really mean, he wants me in prison, and he won't share the toys that mom bought for both of us on Christmas. I want a new little brother from mommy", never said Lil Robby in court while complaining about the prosecutor.
Armenian and Iranian delegation held a meeting in November 19-21. One of the topics was river Araks and Armenian factories' pollutants that pour into it, which eventually reaches the northern Iran.
Iranian experts say the Armenian factories agreed to take measures to reduce the pollution within 3 years.
Emergency Ministry denied a "fake news" published by Past media outlet, which claimed, based on its anonymous sources, that the Azeri journalists who recently visited an Emergency center in Artsakh, were allowed to see sensitive info related to military emergency protocols. Ministry says the visitors only visited a 911 dispatch center briefly, before leaving.
Army denied false reports that claimed the Azeri army organized a large-scale infiltration attempt in Artsakh last night.
Armenia and 11 other nations are a member of Black Sea Economic Cooperation. It's current president is from Azerbaijan.
During an assembly meeting, Azeri delegation tried to illegally increase the size of their delegation, aided by the Azeri committee president.
Armenian, Russian and few other delegates objected. Despite a preliminary objection which should have ended the attempt, the president decided to place the changes for a direct vote, which is also illegal.
6 AYE, 5 NYE, 1 neutral. The resolution failed to get the needed absolute majority.
Despite this, the president decided to move forward with increasing the Azeri delegation.
The complaints have been escalated. It's still being discussed.
Corruption Prevention Committee, recently formed by the Parliament and consisted of members from 3 political parties, govt and Supreme Court, has begun its works.
LHK-appointee Haykuhi Harutyunyan was elected as the chief by her colleagues. The QP's appointee rage-quit the committee after a failed bid to become the chief.
New Chief Harutyunyan: We Armenians do well in individual sports such as chess, but are bad at group games like soccer. Hopefully we can change that stereotype through a team work at the Corruption Prevention Committee. (shots fired)
LHK chief Edmon Marukyan: a worthy candidate has been elected as the chief. It's important to get things right from the beginning. The goal should be to prevent corruption, and not wait until someone is submerged in it in order to act. Corruption still exists in Armenia, but it is not coordinated from one higher place (referring to govt). The anti-corruption attitude needs to be lowered down and spread among lower ranking officials, too.
A month-long anti-corruption and pro-institutional reform protests continue in Lebanon. Prime Minister Hariri resigned, then wanted to lead some coalition, and today he gave up on that coalition.
Police tried to prevent clashes between protesters and Hezbollah, whose supporters gathered and insulted the protesters in the public square.
Hezbollah and Amal groups attacked and burned down protester tents in Tyre city, beating down protesters. Soldiers had to intervene.
Clashes happened between Sunni Al Mistaqbal and Shiite Amal groups.
"Shia, Shia, Shia!" Hezbollah supporters waving the group's yellow flag shouted, taunting the protesters, who chanted back, "This is Lebanon, not Iran," and "Terrorist, terrorist, Hezbollah is a terrorist". (Per AlJazeera)
Lebanon had a civil war between 1975-1990 which resulted in 120,000 deaths.
160,000 Armenians live in Lebanon, or 4% of the population.
LHK chief Marukyan sent a letter Pashinyan urging him to invite the Lebanese-Armenian community leaders to Armenia, to support them and the Armenian diaspora in Lebanon.
SIS obtained the medical records of former Syunik governor Liska, and concluded that he is healthy enough to fly back to Armenia despite the medical issues. Liska is facing charges. (Read old posts)
Legatum Prosperity Index, which measures country's prosperity, has ranked Armenia above all former Soviet republics with the exception of Georgia and Baltics.
Armenia went 27 positions up and stood at 61st place.
1 Denmark, 53 Georgia, 61 Armenia, 67 Mexico, 74 Russia, 81 Moldova, 91 Turkey, 92 Azerbaijan, 119 Persia.
Slovenia has ratified the EU-ARM comprehensive cooperation agreement. 16 EU states have ratified, 5 are in works.
Armenia's foreign international reserves, approx:
Pashinyan: Volume of foreign currency assets purchased by the Central Bank of Armenia is $522mln this year. This indicates a great inflow of currency into Armenia, which indicates a stable financial system, which is good for businesses. It's an unprecedented number.
Serj Sargsyan talks about how he agreed to sign a document to give 7 Artsakh regions to Azerbaijan and to remove Armenians from these regions, in exchange for the rest of Artsakh's self-determination.
They went to Kazan city to sign it, but Azerbaijan bailed out at the last moment.
Russian Language https://youtu.be/CyOezqBl4RE?t=730
Armenian Language https://fip.am/9439
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/e24ocm/anticorruption_news_tldrs_nov262019_yerevan/
|2018 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2019 Daily Armenia Reports|
|2020 Daily Armenia Reports|