2019 October 22
Anti-Corruption & News - Oct/22/2019 :: Details on how HHK rushed to appoint Tovmasyan as Court chief -- Forgery of documents -- Parliament speaker a suspect :: Freedom of Speech -- Opposition owns the private TVs :: Former Minister of Transport arrested :: Vanetsyan & Nemets : Forests :: Salary
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.
Freedom of Speech Protection Committee chief Ashot Melikyan:
The media has never been this free from the government's intervention. The govt has adopted the policy of letting media speak, and they're largely true to their promise. The warnings through phone calls and other similar interventions done in the past, have stopped.
Last year's raids on YerevanToday outlet were unacceptably harsh. We've contacted the police, we consider it as a pressure after analyzing the police response. (Last year the police raided YerevanToday office, after Google web crawler incorrectly showed that the article, containing unpublished YouTube URL of a video uploaded by hackers, was published by YerevanToday before the URL was officially made public by the hackers. This made the investigators believe that the outlet had ties to the hackers, who were under a national security investigating in regards to hacking NSS phone. Outlet's computers were searched and returned after the police found no connection. Besides YerevanToday, another media outlet was raided, but they didn't come forward claiming persecution.)
Free Speech committee continues...
For the first time since independence, opposition media outlets have the ability to remain in the hands of opposition. Even parties outside of Parliament have TV channels. They don't receive the same fate as (anti-Kocharyan) A1plus.
Moreover, all private TV channels are currently owned by the opposition. Some of these networks act as a propaganda outlet to help specific people.
After the revolution, the speech became more polarized in media outlets with many of them serving narrow interests of their owners. This has contributed to the high number of lawsuits involving media outlets in regards to defamation, fake news, manipulation etc.
13 current and former officials are suing media outlets. 9 ordinary citizens. 5 businessmen, etc.
Last year, the IRS and prosecutors opened an investigation into now-former NSS chief Arthur Vanetyan's family-owned flower business, per Aravot report. The official who launched the investigation was Argishti Qaramyan, who is now the acting chief of SOC (state oversight committee).
A week ago, Roboserj outlets begun circulating reports that a flower seller told them that he was allegedly beaten and forced to testify that Vanetsyan is the real owner of the flower business.
The police denied the report of beating and forcing the man.
The flower seller Karen Ghazaryan then hired HHK Arsen Babayan's law firm to represent him. (Arsen Babayan is the HHK Parliamentary Chief of Staff mentioned yesterday, and is suspected of falsifying docs in 2018 to pave way for Hrayr Tovmasyan to become Constitutional Court chief.)
year old IRS case https://www.aravot.am/2019/09/17/1066483/
May-2018, Hetq writes details about Vanetsyan family's business.
2 weeks ago, FIP media wrote a report implicating former Soccer federation chief Ruben Hayrapetyan with shady construction dealings.
Las week the police visited Soccer Federation office, now led by former NSS Vanetsyan, to gather info for the case about Ruben Hayrapetyan.
Some media outlets assumed this police visit was linked to Vanetsyan and his alleged flower business, but Factor now denies it, saying it was about Hayrapetyan.
Now back to HHK's Parliamentary Chief of Staff Arsen Babayan...
He was arrested yesterday under the suspicion of falsifying documents in 2018 to help Tovmasyan.
Arsen Babayan challenged his arrest. Human Rights Ombudsman says he should be released even if guilty, because the 2018 mass amnesty applies to the nature of his suspected crime. The court is hearing whether he should remain under arrest.
Arsen Banayan was arrested as part of the investigation that begun after IND MP Arman Babajanyan filed a report about HHK's appropriation of power in 2018.
Former Minister of Transport Gurgen Sargsyan has been arrested.
He was charged with fraud in Gyumri-Talin portion of North-South highway construction work. He was coordinating construction firms. Earlier the lower court released him on bail. Today the Appeals court sided with prosecutors and issued an arrest warrant, instead.
Constitutional Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan's property dealings are under an investigation. It's about his activities around 2013 when he was HHK's Justice Minister. Up to 855mln construction materials meant for govt projects went missing. A construction firm employee testified against a certain "public official". Because Tovmasyan still has a judge's immunity, he is not officially charged, but it's evident that the case is about him because the investigators wanted to examine his (father's) house to see if the construction materials Tovmasyan used in past are the same embezzled materials.
His daughters were questioned about the expensive gifts they received when their dad was the Minister. BHK boss Gagik Tsarukyan believes it's unacceptable to question Tovmasyan's family members. He referred to Tovmasyan as a legitimate CC chief.
(Few weeks earlier BHK refused to join QP and LHK to pass the petition to ask CC to impeach Tovmasyan for allegedly violating 4 rules.)
Now, back to our main story of the day, again...
The SIS has another investigation involving Hrayr Tovmasyan. It's about the HHK's 2018 takeover of the Constitutional Court, in which the former CC chief Gagik Harutyunyan "quit" in order to allow HHK MP Tovmasyan to become the CC chief. Accusations were made, as back as in 2018, that laws were violated during this process. Investigators recently confiscated documents from HHK office and the Parliament to check Tovmasyan's status as an MP and other details.
This is why HHK's Parliament Chief of Staff Arsen Babayan was arrested. He is the main suspect of document forgery.
SIS now says former Parliament speaker HHK Ara Babloyan has been implicated as a second suspect in the forgery and appropriation of power investigation. (He is the one who signed some papers.)
SIS report says:
In Feb-12-2018, HHK MP Babloyan nominated HHK MP Tovmasyan to fill a vacant CC position.
In March-2-2018, HHK voted to send Tovmasyan to CC.
A short time was left for the new Constitution to begin (it was adopted in 2015 and was scheduled to kick-in in 2018). Under the new Constitution, future CC judges would not serve lifetime. But HHK wanted to set up the process in a way for Tovmasyan to serve life-time.
To make this happen, on March-1-2019, then CC chief Gagik Harutyunyan internally within the CC network wrote a letter that he wants to quit. The letter was not sent to Parliament until March 5th. March 5th is when the CC handed the letter to Parliament chief of staff Arsen Babayan through an electronic system.
Despite the letter of resignation being submitted to Parliament on March 5th, Ara Babloyan somehow knew that Harutyunyan intended to resign, so Babloyan officially accepted his resignation and signed it in documents before Harutyunyan actually resigned.
The reason Babloyan rushed the process through falsification is because had they not done it, the Parliament would leave the session until March 20th. Upon returning, they wouldn't have enough time to do this process until the activation of the new Constitution, which would mean their grand plan of appointing their MP Tovmasyan as lifetime CC chief would not work out.
Arsen Babayan was the officials who received CC chief Harutyunyan's resignation letter on March 5th through Parliament's electronic communication system, then falsified it to make it look as if they received it earlier in order to justify Babloyan's actions.
Tags: ConstitutionalCourt, HrayrTovmasyan, GagikHarutyunyan, AraBabloyan,
QP leader Lilith Makunts:
The fact that CC didn't even accept the petition to hear the case against chief Tovmasyan has only deepened the crisis of the lack of trust towards the CC. It is a disrespect towards the Parliament. CC didn't address the concerns raised by the Parliament.
Raids against illegal logging continue. Trucks full of wood were confiscated in Noyemberyan and Goris.
Forest protection enforcement stats for Jan-Oct of 2019 versus entirety of 2018:
13% more felony cases launched.
58% more individuals taken to court.
42% more individuals found guilty.
Prosecutors attribute the rise to improved enforcement, rather than increased crime.
Pashinyan during Global Forest Summit:
Unfortunately Armenia has long had a decline of forest areas. At first it was only about using wood for energy, but later the climate change contributed to forest decline.
Private initiative Armenia Tree Project has planted 6mln trees in the past 25 years, and helped villagers find work.
The govt has a plan to double forests in Armenia by 2050. Beginning 2020 we'll plant 10mln trees, as the beginning of the work to achieve that goal.
By the end of this year we'll plant 0.5mln more trees. 424mln fund was dedicated for it. It'll create 1,000 temporary jobs. 500 have been hired already. Feel free to join.
Recently we significantly increased penalty for illegal logging.
PM's spokesman Vladimir Karapetyan:
Raising Minister salaries wasn't truly a "secret" because Pashinyan has publicly said in the past that he plans to give them a raise. In order to prevent situations when a Minister gives himself "too much raise" through bonuses, the process was recently regulated and stricter limits were placed on how much bonus a Minister gave give to himself. Simultaneously, the base payment went up.
The raise can be seen by looking at official's financial declarations. It is not a secret.
The leaders of those political parties who used to be part of the HHK coalition, and now criticize this raise, should come forward and tell us how much cash they used to give their Ministers in envelopes in secrecy.
Employees of the Penitentiary system will soon see a 30% salary raise.
Charentsavan School N3 former director is charged with felony embezzling 2.3mln by registering fake employees between 2005-2018.
QP MP Kristina Poghosyan had her car window smashed the second time in recent times. The car was parked near the Parliament building. She believes it's not a coincidence, it's due to her political activities, and suspects former regime allies of being behind it.
Parliament is still discussing a new law to ease the rules on who can become NSS and Police high ranking official. Due to complaints of the system being corrupt, LHK offered to allow people from other institutes to be appointed as their chiefs. Under the latest proposal, NSS and Police deputy chiefs can also be "outsiders" .
BHK wants the minimum age to be lifted from 25 to higher to make sure the person is experienced (at taking bribes, j/k)
Parliament is also discussing amendments to a new bill that allows fed-up citizens to record rule-breaking cars and upload them to the police.
The proposal will set limits to make sure a person won't repeatedly target one car due to personal issues with the car owner. One report per month per person against the same vehicle. Parliament will also clarify which violations can be recorded and uploaded. For repeatedly uploading non-violations, the reporter will be locked out of the portal for 3 months (Zucked).
IND MP Arman Babajanyan:
The October 27 terror could repeat itself because the govt hasn't done anything yet to solve it's real organizers , who are within Armenia and abroad (referring to Russia).
October 27 parliament shooter Nairi Hunanyan: can you guys let me go?
It's been 20 years since the Oct 27, 1999 terror attack in which Nairi Hunanyan and his family members stormed the Parliament, killing the Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan and others. The law allows Hunanyan to request a parole board to consider an early release. The board has 80 days to make a decision to grant or deny.
Yerevan municipality is working on a bill to confiscate property from illegal street traders.
The legal mobile "taco-trucks" will need do use electronic cards to pick the area where they want to trade, for a particular day and time. The allowable parking times will be limited so they won't act as budkas. The external size and appearance of "taco-trucks" will be regulated.
Municipality complains that they convince illegal traders to move out of an area, just to realize that they've returned shortly afterwards. They decided to confiscate the goodies instead.
Which parks do Yerevan residents prefer?
34% said they don't visit parks.
8% said the Yerevan-2800 park.
6.2% for TUMO Park.
6% Oghakadzev Park.
4% Hakhtanak .
3% Lovers' Park.
Park's location plays the crucial role in preference. The second criteria is the green coverage. Third criteria is existence of cafes.
It turns out Armenians are rich, lol.
According to Credit Suisse, Armenian population (3mln) as a whole owns $42 billion. Georgians (3.7mln) own $37 billion, Azerbaijanis (10mln) own $83 billion.
Per capita, Armenian citizens are ahead of neighbors.
The average line, which means half of population is below it, is as follows:
Wrestling champion Arthur Alexanyan cutting his Olympic birthday cake with an ax.
Croatian parliament has unanimously adopted the EU-Armenia comprehensive cooperation agreement.
A group of protesters gathered in downtown Baku to protest against the violence against women. 10 women were murdered in the past 5 days in domestic violence cases. One of the demands was for govt to adopt the Istanbul Convention.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dlopos/anticorruption_news_oct222019_details_on_how_hhk/
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