2019 October 21
Anti-Corruption & News Summary - Oct/21/2019 :: Parliament official arrested -- 2018 Constitutional Court takeover -- Tovmasyan & Predecessor :: 2bln bust -- Sevan fish protection :: Amulsar investigator :: Crime stats :: Yerevan -- present & future :: Airports :: Draft dodgers :: Wages :: Aurora
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 investigators are examining the 2018 "appropriation of power" incident by Serj's regime, during which, shortly before the new Constitution's activation, they rushed the appointment of their HHK MP Hrayr Tovmasyan as the chief of Constitutional Court. At the time, the CC chief Gagik Harutyunyan "quit" the position as CC chief to pave the way for MP Hrayr Tovmasyan. Gagik Harutyunyan was then appointed by the regime as the chief of Supreme Court, while Tovmasyan took his job as the Constitutional chief. Gagik Harutyunyan would later resign from Supreme Court in 2019 after public protests.
Accusations were made that during this process HHK violated the law, Tovmasyan was still an MP when elected to CC, etc.
Today the investigators revealed that they arrested the former aide to Parliament Chief of Staff Arsen Babayan, under the suspicion of forgery with a purpose of helping a group of people to appropriate power.
The felony investigation continues.
LHK chief Marukyan:
The situation around Ttvmasyan is so far legal. If the international community asks questions on what's happening around him, you could explain the actions so far. It's important to make sure the process is done based solely on the law; you can't establish the rule of law by breaking the law.
Tovmasyan currently isn't charged in connection with the 855mln-fund embezzlement case during his Justice Ministry years (he is suspected of stealing construction materials and using them on his house). The investigators first need to ask Constitutional Court to strip Tovmasyan of immunity, before being able to charge him.
The Constitutional Court issue is bigger than Tovmasyan and needs to be solved through institutional reforms.
(misleading video title) https://youtu.be/D4MJR__jZrg
Police says they've confirmed that HHK MP Samvel Farmanyan lied about a ոմն SIS agent secretly meeting him in a public bath to inform him about an upcoming arrest against his sister.
Farmanyan's sister was arrested last year under the suspicion of embezzling money from the university students by lying to graduates and claiming they had to pay a mandatory fee.
She was released under bail. This year she went to Georgia for a vacation but didn't return. SIS asked her not to leave the country for long periods. She didn't appear again. SIS made it clear she would be arrested again for violating the bail term.
LHK Edmon Marukyan and BHK Naira Zorabyan were contacted by SIS with a demand to assure Farmanyan's sister would not escape, because the aforementioned MPs bailed her out under a person guarantee that she would behave while free.
Afterwards, MP Farmanyan wrote a post on his Facebook page, during which he claimed that an SIS investigator met him secretly in a bath and told him that his sister was going to be arrested, and that they (investigators) were apparently against it but their hands were "tied". Farmanyan created the impression that the entire SIS department was against her arrest and they were waiting for the government to change so they could have an honest government again.
As it turns out, the bath building had surveillance cameras. The police says one other person walked into the area where Farmanyan was. They questioned the person and he turned out to be a random guy not affiliated with the law enforcement. Police accused Farmanyan of lying.
(Read Oct/7/2019 for full details)
Լռություն: Ու արագ անհետանում է շոգեբաղնիքի գոլորշու մեջ 📖 https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/171972
Another "no-show" was the former General Prosecutors Gevorg Kostanyan. SIS asked him to visit their station to testify regarding March 1st events. Kostanyan promised to return to Armenia within 20 days, but he still hasn't appeared to SIS office.
The investigators earlier pressed charges against the former police chief Alik Sargsyan for allegedly helping to cover up the military presence in March 1st 2008 events. Gevorg Kostanyan was mentioned as one of the key players (the handler) who allegedly went around and coordinated various law enforcement agencies to collude and cover up the regime's crimes. Kostanyan himself hasn't been charged (yet).
Update: On Monday, Kostanyan contacted SIS and promised to appear next month.
In 2018 the new govt begun investigating Roboserj Nature Protection officials to see if they deliberately hid environmental data to give Amulsar miner Lydian a green light.
Chief investigator was Yuri Ivanyan. When he took the task, he disclosed that he has a relative who is also related to the person he is investigating. They checked the law and that wasn't legally considered a conflict of interest. He kept investigating, and found that the former Nature Ministry didn't knowingly commit a felony of hiding environmental data.
Few months later, a media outlet published a report saying Ivanyan has ties to the former regime official. Ivanyan had to explained that he's already disclosed it and they found it was legal for him to investigate.
Nonetheless, he was taken out of the Amulsar case and an investigation was launched against him. Today the investigation concluded that he didn't violate anything.
The prosecutors have busted a 2bln embezzlement and waste case in a 2013-2018 nature protection program that was meant to save the ishkhan (trout) fish population in lake Sevan.
SOC audited Sevan Ishkhan Protection foundation and 2 firms created by it. Turns out the govt gave these 3 firms 9bln between 2013-2018. Around 2bln of it was stolen and wasted. Article has the full details (no names of company owners).
Investigators have busted the director of Torq Angegh govt-funded sports center director with 12mln embezzlement through registering family member as a fake employee between 2016-2019
He also illegally collected fees from the students (krishi pox erexeq davayte marda 5k qcveq sarqenq prcnenq)
He then leased the parking lot to car owners and embezzled the funds.
Multiple felony charges are pending. 12mln has been recovered.
The reported overall crime rose 7% in September vs Sep-2018. The percentage of the rise has been significantly lowered since the beginning of this year, when it was going up at a 35% rate.
Police attributed the large spike to an increased trust towards the police force. 29,721 more more people contacted to report a crime.
The most rise is attributed to small scale theft and traffic violations.
Crime against a person continues to decline. Its share went from 21.3% to 16.8% of all crimes.
Police solved 38% of heavy crimes, and 57% of very heavy crimes.
SOLVED: 70% of murder cases, 84% of body injury, 75% of serious body injury, 84% of traffic, 69% hit and run, 66% of weapon related, 66% of hooliganism with weapon, 77% of car theft, 55% of hooliganism, 58% robbery, 44% theft, 23% of burglary.
Health Minister Torosyan:
Within 3 years, we'll have a system of removing vital organs from deceased donors to save other human lives. Kidney transplants donated by volunteers rose 2x this year. The govt subsidizes 2.5mln of the cost.
Nature Ministry has begun cleaning up 98 hectare area off the shores of Lake Sevan, near Vardenis. The works begun this October and will end in December. They'll remove submerged vegetation that helps algae bloom. The extracted trees will be given to low-income residents as varelapayt. Installing cleanup stations on rivers that pour into the lake is on the agenda.
Hetq outlet: decent wages are important for effective governance, but it's best to increase the wages while notifying about it publicly. Pashinyan increased Minister salaries in July, for at least 3 of them from 800k ($1.6k) to 1.5.mln ($3.1k), but the public wasn't informed about the decision.
PM office: the info is publicly available through salary/property declarations that every official discloses periodically as mandated by law.
Pashinyan has long insisted that salaries need to rise to reduce corruption, increase professional worker retention and to achieve better results.
Old dog Yerevan celebrated its 2801th birthday on Sunday. Each of 12 districts held a concert with a different genre, instead of having one big concert in the Republic Square as done in past.
Mayor Marutyan about some of the changes this year:
All kindergarten workers got a 20% raise this year. 6500m2 formerly appropriated land was taken back and given to kindergartens. 1000 more kids can go to kindergarten as a result. Electronic system was implemented to help parents with kids' registration.
Medical clinics also have the electronic registration system now.
Budget revenues went up.
www.activecitizen.yerevan.am with a 500mln budget allows citizens submit their projects and get votes.
Ad billboards are being removed from cultural and historical buildings.
More construction work was permitted than in the past 3 years.
600,000m2 roads were repaired, with 100,000 more to be repairs by the end of the year due to savings.
A new department is being formed in Yerevan to handle city's green areas.
City will soon launch the pilot program with 20 elevators, as part of the plan to replace thousands of aged elevators in future.
The new bus network's financial model is created.
New metro station's investor company will soon present the draft documents with more details about the plans.
We stopped mass-killing stray dogs. Animal handling department was created. 2,000 dogs have been neutered. In a few years the issue will be solved.
City begun collecting the trash. 50 vehicles purchased. Snow plowers and vacuum trucks are on the way. Thanks for patience.
When I look at posters that represent the city, I don't see any building that was built within the past 25 years. Yerevan has a huge history, and now it's time for it to have a strong present and future. (a skyscraper confirmed?)
More in the video https://www.facebook.com/Yerevanofficial/videos/390769665166949/
Yerevan mayor Marutyan visited BusWorld Europe 2019 held in Brussels. He's window-shopping buses in the spirit of the upcoming public transport revamp which will happen in 2 years.
Gyumri Airports has a new emergency and monitoring system, emergency vehicle, adjacent systems. $4mln was invested by "Armenia International Airports" in the past 2 years. $5mln to be invested soon.
Air passenger traffic in two airports rose 16.5% this September vs Sep-2018.
Overall traffic since the beginning of the year is up 11.4%, around 2,397,700 people.
Jet traffic rose 13.3%.
11,000 military-age Armenian men left Armenia without serving in the army. There is a felony case against them for dodging a draft.
The law that allows them to pay a fine (around $8000) and avoid the jail/army will expire by the end of this year. It appears that the govt is working on something "new".
It is possible that the dodgers can contribute directly to the Armenian military industrial complex somehow, from abroad, and get a pass. That's a theory for now. It's something that Pashinyan suggested years ago while still an opposition figure.
The Defense Ministry is currently in secret talks with the Parliament.
Yezidi activist Mirza Dinnayi receives the 2019 Aurora Prize and $1mln for helping thousands of ethnic minorities in Iraq and Syria.
Aurora was created to honor Armenian Genocide survivors, and is held in Armenia each year to honor people who help others in need.
Tash Tush moment https://youtu.be/fiz9xE2-rnI?t=9285
Interview with Mirza Dinnayi at CivilNet.
First apple festival in Armenia took place on Sunday. Artsakh president visited the apple festival, ate a lot of apples for sure.
Nor Geghi settlement has a new statue of... an apple.
Food Safety inspectors examined salt use and production in 89 food businesses and found that the salt used in few of them did not have the necessary potassium and other minerals. Businesses were told to dump the bad batch.
Civil Aviation chief Tatevik Revazyan talks about how they brought Ryanair airlines to Armenia:
Large Armenian diaspora was one of the talking points that convinced Ryanair, besides the tax waivers. When we first begun the negotiations, it was only around Gyumri airport, but we realized Zvartnots should be included. It is false that govt pays $5mln/year to Ryanair for flights.
We're negotiating with low-cost WIzz Air, too. More info in a few weeks.
How Roboserj outlets 7or and 168 mislead the public about govt paying Ryanair $5mln/year.
Protests took place in Azerbaijan on Saturday, against low wages and govt corruption (Update: also against Aliyev's inaction in Artsakh issue, as noted by commenters). 200 people gathered, led by the opposition figure Ali Kermili, who leads an anti-govt coalition. 60 people got arrested. The govt shut down 3 metro stations to reduce meeting attendance. Europe asked Aliyev to free the arrested.
Few weeks ago the opposition held protests with a demand for govt to allow them to hold protests.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dl6f6t/anticorruption_news_summary_oct212019_parliament/
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