2019 October 2
Anti-Corruption & News Summary - Oct/2/2019 :: Diaspora programs for repatriates :: Migration :: Army - Border - Draft :: Constitutional Court judge :: EAEU; laws; gas :: Gambling law :: Online classes :: Education & Healthcare minister :: other news...
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.
A contractor soldier was wounded in the shoulder on AM-AZ border last night. He's doing alright. Azeri media lied about it being an infiltration attempt. Earlier, two Azeri soldiers were killed after their failed infiltration attempt.
Wrestling legend Julfalakyan earlier quit as the Armenian national team coach due to disagreements on how to train. He will work at the Yerevan municipality sports center.
Two arson attacks. Someone burned down the car belonging to a chief investigator Mher E. who works at the Investigative Committee.
Kocharyan-allied politician Vitali Balansanyan: Pashinyan is a terrorist. In 2018 he invaded a state-guarded radio station, which is similar to the armed takeover of the police station by Sasna Tsrer.
Constitutional Court chief HHK Hrayr Tovmasyan has been accused of being appointed as a judge through legal violations, and other illegal conducts during his administration. Parliament pointed out 4 reasons why he should be impeached. They will hold a vote tomorrow. If 78 MPs vote in favor, the Parliament will send a note to Constitutional Court and ask the 9 judges to vote to impeach Tovmasyan. They may or may not do it.
Tovmasyan himself says it's a political move to remove him as a "barrier".
BHK chief Gagik Tsarukyan: BHK will not vote for or against the resolution about Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan. We don't think this is a political persecution against him, however. BHK has always been against Tovmasyan's appointment. We pointed out legal problems during his appointment. Right now let the court itself decide whether to remove him or not. (which is the purpose of this vote, to ask the court to remove him, there is a reason they call you "dod").
A BHK MP later added that they aren't sure if the 4 reasons mentioned by QP are enough to impeach Tovmasyan.
QP alone has enough MPs to pass the resolution tomorrow. However, that would require an almost-unanimous vote within the party, which may not happen. LHK also expressed support towards the resolution, which could add enough votes.
Monday: Putin won't visit Armenia as a sign of protest to Kocharyan arrest.
Tuesday: Putin will visit Armenia but will meet Robert Kocharyan in jail.
Wednesday: Putin visited Armenia but didn't meet Kocharyan, but instead he met Kocharyan's wife and had a lengthy conversation.
Thursday: before Putin left, Kocharyan's wife asked to meet Putin and they had a conversation for a few minutes.
Sources familiar with matters: Putin and Rob are long-time friends. Putin tried to convince Pashinyan that Kocharyan's arrest is illegal. When Pashinyan brought the facts about his arrest, Putin opted for "Don't you get it? He is my friend." To which Pashinyan allegedly responded "I'm sorry that you have friends like that."
(Դու ինձ ցավ էս պատճառում, Անտո՜նիո։)
PM went to Parliament to answer questions.
PM: the EAEU meeting was the largest and the most global of it's kind, involving other states. We're happy to have contributed to it. Agreements were made. I held 3 hours of meetings with Putin about AM-RU relations. Both of us were satisfied. The rest is up to the ministries to take care of the implementation of agreements. Putin invited me to visit Russia.
PM: There are 60 problems that are being discussed in EAEU. They'll be solved gradually. It's about the 4 pillars of the EAEU: freedom of labor, capital, trade, and human movement. EAEU admits that there are problems with these basics. To solve the problems, each member state has to synchronize their laws with EAEU.
PM: another problem is Lars border point between Georgia and Russia, which is the land point that Armenian traders use. It's not sufficient at its current state and there are always delays. This needs to be solved as part of EAEU agreement.
[Georgia and Russia are working on alternative entries. Armenia is working to have its own trade fleet in Black Sea.]
Deputy PM Grigoryan: gas price talks continue. We want to sign a long-term contract instead of 1-2 year. (businesses want to know how much they'll be paying in future). By the end of this year we'll have more details. Before universal energy distribution & payment rules are made in EAEU in 2025, we'll need to solve this problem by other means. The goal is to have a system in which everyone will be informed about gas price change well ahead of time. Rest be assured that this December you won't wake up to learn that the gas price will go up in January.
PM tells the story about the selfie they took with country leaders. Lukashenko isn't in it because he had to leave early to participate in a family member funeral: https://youtu.be/DIqg4CC5Sl8
Armenia and Singapore have signed the first out of five agreements. This one is about trade, service and investments.
Defense Minister Tonoyan was also summoned to Parliament.
DM: we scored an unprecedented level of ability to draft soldiers and move them around. Within 1 day, we were able to double the size of the army. The details will be sent to Parliament and Govt in written form.
Parliament is discussing minimum wage raise from 55k to 68k AMD. Govt earlier approved it. If parliament approves it, 57k public and 130k private workers will see a direct raise.
Parliament (QP and BHK) is making amendments to the new strict anti-gambling laws. Each gambling company will have the ability to have 1 office in provinces, and 1 in each of Yerevan administrative districts.
Just as earlier, they can continue to have their offices in several cities that are known for recreation, gambling and tourism.
Office size is limited to 200m2. Office must verify that a gambler's spouse didn't get a court order prohibiting the spouse from wasting family money on gambling.
Law goes into effect in Nov-2020 if approved.
~1mln people left Armenia since the independence. 42% of Lori residents left, the highest percentage among all provinces.
In recent years, the emigration is more about work related, and the permanent relocations have reduced. 95% of them go to Russia for seasonal work.
The situation has gotten better after the 2018 revolution. The migration agency will offer the govt a pilot program to help Armenians who want to return.
LHK: there is a plagiarism in University of Engineering rector's dissertation. With so many rectors recently getting busted with plagiarizm, why don't you check every rector's papers?
Education Minister Harutyunyan: we don't have the legal right to do mass checks. If a plagiarism evidence surfaces about a specific paper, we check it.
LHK: some villages don't have teachers in schools.
Minister: we plan to add online classes in all schools beginning next September. A pilot program was done in Ararat province. It was successful.
LHK: but do villagers have internet?
Minister: we worked a lot about it last year.
Press F to receive A.
Earlier, health minister Torosyan sent a report to NSS accusing SOC boss Sanasaryan and 2-3 other employees of illegally helping a company, with ties to one of the SOC employees, to win a dialysis medical contract with hospitals.
Sanasaryan denied wrongdoing, pointing out the fact that SIS later found that the previous medical contracts were rigged. Sanasaryan claimed he was un-rigging it. NSS kept the charges nonetheless.
Sanasaryan lawyer says his client wasn't aware that several SOC employees were doing something illegal, no evidence that proves otherwise. "The only recorded fact shows that when Sanasaryan was hiring one of these employees, the employee disclosed that he has ties with a medical business."
Sanasaryan says that in late-2018, minister Torosyan contacted him to warn that a company that won a license, was affiliated with one of Sanasaryan's employees, but Torosyan allegedly said the company made a favorable financial offer to the hospital. Sanasaryan then allegedly checked the papers for a conflict of interest laws but concluded that it was done legally.
The defense is claiming: when the SOC employee Adyan was hired, he notified boss Sanasaryan that he owns a specific company. Sanasaryan told Adyan that the latter has to legally file some paperwork about a management transfer (or something like that), but the employee misunderstood it as "make sure it doesn't show up on legal documents".
Sanasaryan accused minister Torosyan of false testimony against him, and "now-retired" NSS Vanetsyan of giving PM a false info about him. He thinks it's because SOC was planning to audit NSS and Health Ministry.
3 employees + Sanasaryan are facing charges. The case is in court.
Minister Torosyan has responded saying he didn't give a false testimony. If he gave a false testimony it can be checked and either verified or denied; he transferred all the info he had to authorities, says Torosyan.
Yerevan municipality has transferred 160mln to Sanitek so they can pay their employees' August salaries. It's over. Yerevan and Sanitek broke up. The city will continue to import it's own garbage bins and trucks.
Office of Diaspora is working on a fund that'll help 1,000 families who want to return to Armenia, by subsidizing their mortgages.
Young startups by diasporans can win $30,000 grants. This project begun last year and has helped 9 startups so far.
Police about a 2015 corruption case:
Ministry of Economic Development signed a contract with a company to purchase a device that checks gas stations. During the process, the company falsified device records, inflated the price, and caused a 19mln damage to state.
The Supreme Court of Turkey has sided with an Armenian church foundation and prevented its appropriation by the General Directorate of Turkish Foundations. Court also ruled that Armenian foundation's rights to take the case to court were violated. The case is sent back to lower court. If the lower court sides with Armenian foundation, it'll be able to get hundreds of pieces of confiscated property.
US State Department met Ministry of Infrastructure and expressed willingness to work on energy projects. They spoke about the nuclear plant, waste, upcoming energy generation plans. Armenian side expressed interest towards obtaining a US-made small modular reactor.
President Sarkissian earlier went to STARMUS international science and arts conference and convinced them to hold the next one in Armenia. They have agreed. Reps came to Armenia to discuss the 2020 plans. Participants are scientists, astronomers and artists around the world.
Some people PULL to prevent families. Others PULL once they already have families. What side are you on?
Pulling competition as part of "Best Sports Family" tournament:
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dcfjcq/anticorruption_news_summary_oct22019_diaspora/
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