2019 October 18
Anti-Corruption & News -- Oct/18/2019 :: CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan -- 855mln embezzlement case -- House repair :: Women in politics :: Political Party rules :: Data transfer logs & Monopoly :: Abandoned Mines & Environment :: Soccer :: Hacked, lol :: Tourism :: more inside
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.
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Amulsar miner Lydian announced yesterday that they won a lawsuit against a 2018 decision made by an environmental activist Arthur Grigoryan who was appointed as the chief environmental inspector in 2018.
Today, Girgoryan accused the government of inaction and not defending his 2018 decision in court, and for allegedly letting Lydian win the case by not sending a lawyer to defend the 2018 decision.
Pashinyan had earlier complained that Grigoryan's poor actions had paved the way for Lydian to win the lawsuit. It was about endangered species that Grigoryan allegedly found on Amulsar hills, which he used as the basis for suspending Lydian operations. The species were later found not to be endangered by an independent analysis, giving Lydian the legal ammunition.
The judge sided with the independent study and found that Lydian does not have to suspend their operations. The judge also found that Grigoryan should have recused himself from that particular investigation due to a conflict of interest.
The Parliament has invited smaller parties and independent analysts to join and discuss ways to improve the party system, and to increase female participation.
QP MP Hamazasp Danielyan: we should change the current rules that give the winner everything. One person or one party should not have absolute power.
QP MP Lena Nazaryan: parties should create equal opportunities for women and men within the party's leadership roles. Either a law should require parties to have more women on leadership boards, or a law should require the parties to have party rules which will guarantee female participation. The unique experience that half of the population has, should be used and represented in boards. There should be a law that mandates that party board leaders are elected through an anonymous vote within the party, so the party boss can't do whatever they want.
ARF member Armenuhi Kyueghyan: parties should be penalized for lack of women, or rewarded for including women, in leadership positions.
LHK MP Karen Simonyan:
Parties that win 2% vote should receive finances from the budget. It'll allow the small parties that couldn't make it into Parliament to be independent and have a chance to be competitive.
Parliamentary parties must have regional offices and meet the residents.
Parties must have access to govt-funded independent analysis institute so they won't go to Facebook and conduct an amateur biased poll to see what the population thinks around a topic.
ANC member Aram Manukyan:
Teach the voter to vote for a political agenda, and not a person.
(a lot people can promise a lot of things, Aramik.)
Independent lawyer Armen Marzmanyan:
The minimum number of registered members the organization has to have in order to be recognized as a political party is currently 800. We suggest lowering it to 300. Some countries have a requirement of only 3 people, but that wold be too radical for Armenia.
The current law requires a party to have an office in Yerevan and at least in 1/3rd of provinces. This is not necessary because today the technology allows remote communication. We suggest the local office requirement to be entirely removed.
Currently, a party can be dismantled only by the Constitutional Court under two conditions: party made a gross violation of a law, party didn't participate in two consecutive elections. The first one is defined vaguely and is dangerous because the govt could weaponize it for repressions. We recommend the law to clearly define what is a gross violation. We recommend entirely removing the second clause and allow parties not to participate in elections without being dismantled.
Each party gets money from the budget. We recommend increasing it 5-10 times. We recommend banning cash donations. Parties should not do business.
Requirement for the minimum number of "founding members" for a party should be reduced from 100 to 80.
The requirement for the minimum number of overall party members should be lowered to 300. Founding members' list must be made public so it'll be verified that they only created 1 party under their name, as required by law.
At least 30% of founding members should be women. Parties that have 40-60% female candidates in elections should be given an encouragement grant.
The current law allows non-citizens to vote in local elections if they've lived there for 1 year. We propose to allow them to be elected as party members, but they will continue to be banned from creating a party themselves.
Not everyone thinks lowering the minimum party size to 300 is just. BHK MP Sergey Bagratyan suggests lowering it to 500. However, he suggested lowering the founding board size from 100 to 50. "These numbers can be further lowered", said MP. He supports the current rule that requires a party not to miss 2 consecutive elections. "A party should be formed based on ideas."
Informed Citizens NGO:
The political party system has been destroyed in Armenia for decades. We need to strengthen the role of parties, increase financial support from budget. That financial support level should depend on how many supporters contact tax institutions and demand their money to be given to a specific party (apparently this is a thing). It'll show each party's true popularity. This way people won't need to wait 5 years (for new elections) or to organize revolutions in order to make a change.
Constitution Court (CC) chief Hrayr Tovmashyan's (HT) sister Angela Tovmasyan runs a Roboserj outlet Hayeli (also Joghovurd, aka ArmLur) with a history of spreading unsubstantiated conspiracy theories. She says she was just fired from BHK-owned Kentron TV network.
1in.am news outlet earlier wrote an article about CC chief HT's shady property dealings in past. The authorities launched an investigation at the time.
His father has been questioned regarding the financial resources HT used for repairing his house. HT's daughters gave a testimony today. (1in.am article mentioned HT's daughters receiving large gifts after the gifts were obtained for low prices)
HHK Shawarmazanov, HHK deputy Justice Minister Malikyan, HHK Justice Minister Arpine Hovhanisyan, ARF Artsvik Minasyan and a group of supporters were outside of the NSS office to protest the investigation.
As part of another investigation filed after a report by MP Babajanyan, The SIS has confiscated documents from the Parliament to check whether HT was a HHK MP when he was appointed as a CC member. Yesterday the SIS confiscated relevant docs from the HHK office.
HHK's archenemy ANC party's deputy-boss Levon Zurabyan is satisfied with the investigations of HT. Says the former regime appropriated power and corrupted the justice system.
Journalist: do you think what's happening around HT is a deliberate persecution?
Zurabyan: March 1st events took place in 2008, yet the government is just now investigating it. Is the March 1st investigation also a persecution because it's being done now? A new government was formed where the law enforcement can do their job. The former regime pressured to cover up past investigations. Today there is no such pressure. The last branch of the government (CC) needs to be liberated from the criminal regime and returned to the public. Questioning HT's family members as part of an investigation is not a "pressure".
Just in: the NSS has revealed the full details of the investigation against HT's past property activities, and why his family was questioned.
2 Zakyan St. building was under Justice Ministry control between 2012-2014. (HT was the Justice Minister at the time).
A 855mln public funds was dedicated for a renovation of that building, plus 15mln for another school. Money was embezzled by public officials.
The director of the construction firm tasked with the renovations had testified against the suspect official. The construction material, meant for official use, was given to the public official so he could renovate his personal house.
The NSS asked HT's father for a permission to check their house to see whether the material used on their house is the same that was supposed to be used elsewhere, but the father refused to authorize the check.
NSS went to HT's house to ask questions out of courtesy (HT's father has some health issue). HT's father later preferred to visit NSS and give an interview with a presence of a lawyer.
NSS is investigation the full amount of damage done to the state.
Interview with the MP whose personal felony report, and a report written by his media outlet 1in.am, launched the investigation against Tovmasyan.
Someone in Ohanavan shot a stray dog. The bullet ricochet hit a woman who was working on her garden in a nearby house. She's doing fine. The police is searching for the jackass.
Update: teen brothers committed a robbery then killed a cop few days ago.
The 16 year old is charged with murder. Additionally, both are charged with battery and robbery. They're arrested.
Cadastre Committee chief Sarhat Petrosyan has resigned due to disagreements with certain govt officials on the future urban development agenda. He accused certain former and current officials in the urban department field of tribalism. He thanked Pashinyan for trusting him with the job, and asked him to accept the resignation.
Petrosyan concluded resignation message saying the resignation is purely based on professional disagreement around urban development, and urged "certain people" not to collect political points by claiming he was pushed out for personal reasons.
The pipeline belonging to Zangezur copper factory could not have burst without first showing signs of problems. This means no safety checks were conducted on time. This should be investigated as part of the ongoing felony case.
Abandoned mines in Syunik also pose a big threat to the environment today. A rain comes and everything becomes white on the nearby ground. The abandoned areas need to be rehabilitated (mine area turns into a healthy soil).
For some reason, when contracts were signed in with the mines in past, the job of soil rehabilitation was placed on the govt's shoulder. I ask the prosecutors to consider this as a report of a possible crime and to investigate why the abandoned mines are still polluting the surrounding.
Public Services Regulatory Commission is working on a draft document to standardize the laws that regulate certain data retention by internet service providers, and to strengthen anti-monopoly tools at their disposal. The ISPs received the draft proposal. (Note to kids: Standardizing data retention doesn't mean there is no data retention at the moment. Don't do anything stupid on the net ;)
Analyzing the draft and reading the current law reveals the following picture:
A law was passed in 2005 to regulate the internet communications.
The Article 5.ժա of the law states that data retention standards must be created by the Regulator.
The Article 5.իէ instructs implementing rules to defend national security.
Article 6.2.2 states the Regulator has to resolve disputes between ISPs, and to regulate monopolies and smaller telecom operators with the purpose of preserving competition in the ISP market.
The standardization proposal says the ISP will keep the customer's registration info, account number, email address, IP address attached to the account, date when the service was purchased and ended, the phone IMEI that was connected to ISP's network, timestamps of connections, the beginning and end timestamp of an email account.
Aforementioned data is to be preserved for 2 years. The content of the communication will not be stored.
The draft proposal was sent to ISPs first to receive their opinion, after which it'll be amended and placed for a public review. The change is needed meet 2016 EU regulations.
(tl;dr: something that you should have always assumed your ISP was doing)
Azeri hackers broke into Armenian PM's website and wrote "Karabakh is Azerbaijan".
Soccer national team coach Gyulbudaghyants has resigned due to the team's failure to proceed to Euro 2020. The team earlier played a tie with weaker Lichtenstein, and lost to Finland.
In the past year under his command, the team had 5 wins, 5 losses and 2 draws.
Charles Aznavour's son Nikola and his wife Christina Sarkisian have moved to live in Armenia. Promise given, promise kept. It looks like they're in Gyumri.
"Irish Examiner: As Ryanair launches flights to Armenia, here’s why it deserves to be your next holiday destination"
Article goes on to talk about tourist attractions in Armenia.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/djt902/anticorruption_news_oct182019_cc_chief_hrayr/
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