2019 October 29
Anti-Corruption & News Summary - Oct/29/2019 :: Frmr Justice Min. Hrayr Tovmasyan named as suspect in property embezzlement :: Court crisis :: :: Illegal business in stadium :: Military $ busts up 27x :: Russian base :: METRO :: 75k jobs :: Nature Ministry :: Traffic :: Ministry cuts :: 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.
Investigators were auditing a work done by the Justice Ministry under Serj. The Justice Minister was HHK MP and current Constitutional Court® chief Hrayr Tovmasyan.
This is the investigation that earlier revealed how the Ministry and Yerevan workers, led by Tovmasyan's godson and a fellow Ministry employee Norayr Panosyan, pressured subordinate notaries to help embezzle properties under the threat of retaliation. Panosyan was the notaries' boss.
Investigation has now revealed that Minister Hrayr Tovmasyan was directly involved in this corruption scheme. He colluded with Yerevan employees to rig a property auction and embezzle the building on Baghramyan 14, says the report.
The felony case is transferred to SIS because a high ranking official is involved.
Tovmasyan has a judicial immunity. To arrest him, the prosecutors need to ask Constitutional Court® to strip the immunity.
Tovmasyan lawyer denied his client's involvement in the property dealings, and called it an illegal pressure on him.
BHK says they are not discussing any measures to kick the new Constitutional Court® judge Vahe Girgoryan out for boycotting court sessions. Can't comment whether there are individual MPs who support that idea.
Judge Vahe Girgoryan says the reason for his absence is because he sees legal and ethical problems with the current Constitutional Court®. He'll make a detailed statement later.
Says he wouldn't have a problem with some Parliament MPs starting a procedure to kick him out, because "that is Parliament's legal right".
(New and old Constitutions referred to or defined Court members differently. Because Court member terms and requirements were different, Grigoryan argued that the Court needs to have a new set of judges, and that the old members cannot transfer their old powers to the new Court.)
Venice Committee president is following the Constitutional Court® situation and urged all sides to exercise restraint. Says he has been following the conflict between the Parliament and the Constitutional Court®. Says the fact that media shapes narrative and the events happen very quickly, does not help to resolve the crisis. In the ideal scenario, each institute should respect one another and exercise restraint and follow the law, said Buquicchio.
Spice of the day award goes to...
Kocharyan-allied media outlets and journalists are upset that an anti-Kocharyan analyst Styopa Safaryan didn't allow them to visit a private event dedicated to the 20th anniversary of October 27th terror attack.
The list of outlets banned from the event:
News.am (last year there were reports of it being obtained by Rob friends), hayeli.am (Hrayr Tovmasyan family), 168.am (Rob), Yerevan Today (Rob), 7or (Roboserj), Livenews (Roboserj), 5TV (Rob), Yerkir Media (Dodi Gago, or Rob?).
Free speech committee says although the media these days serves narrow interests of its owners, it's a bad idea when the public discriminates any outlet.
The organizers and participants of the event have long accused Kocharyan of being connected to the Oct27 terror attack, covering it up, and suppressing its open investigation.
A panel of doctors concluded that Manvel Grigoryan's health issues aren't serious enough to release him from jail.
The admins of Hanrapetakan soccer stadium did illegal business in the property between 2003 and July-2018 (nice date).
The admins created a flower sales area and charged businesses 160k/day. 850mln worth fees were collected, out of which 700mln were embezzled. 98mln in tax evasion. 10mln in unpaid state fees.
Moreover, the stadium admins gave an illegal license to a specific flower sellers in last August, who kept doing business until recently. 2mln in state fees weren't paid.
Felony investigation continues.
Military prosecutors busted 10bln financial abuse so far this year. That is 27x 🔥 more than busts conducted in the 2018 period.
They recovered 400mln, or 6x 🔥 more than the 2018 period.
262 audits. 144 violations. 28 felony cases.
Speaker Ararat Mirsoyan went and met Italian Senate boss. Thanked for ratifying the EU-Arm comprehensive agreement (still needs house passage). Asked Italy to cooperate in reforming the travel Visa regime between Armenia and EU.
Russian defense Minister Shoygu visited Armenia and the Russian military base in Gyumri. Said the base's capabilities will double after the upcoming weaponry refresh.
They also plan to open some kind of a cultural-entertainment center in the base. (?)
Russia will help to build a new 46,000m2 military school in Armenia. It'll have "state of the art" things.
Who did this?
An explosion and fire on an Azeri state-owned SOCAR oil ship. 1 dead, 3 wounded.
Update: The bipartisan Genocide Recognition bill has proceeded to a final stage in US House. It'll be placed for a vote under H. RES. 296. It's sponsored by Adam Schiff (D-CA) and Gus Bilirakis (R-FL).
Kim Kardashyan expects the House to pass it.
Senior Republican MP Devin Nunes has asked Donald Trump to recognize the genocide.
The bill mentions how the US ambassador to Ottoman Turkey at the time condemned the deliberate extermination of ethnic groups. It mentions Greeks, Assyrians and others as well.
In Kanye we trust.
What about the new METRO station in Yerevan's Ajapnyak district?
The Municipality released mock-up pics of the proposed station. Trains will stop partially on a newly built bridge on Hrazdan gorge.
The project will be done by private investors, some of whom have expressed strong interest, and one of whom begun to work with the municipality. No names are mentioned. Private firm will get their money back by operating a new shopping mall near the station.
City hopes the works will begin next Spring.
Yerevan will spend 4bln in 2020 to renovate escalators in METRO stations.
City's budget to rise by 20bln next year.
To revamp the public transport, Yerevan will ask govt to borrow up to $130mln loan from international organizations, or pay some of it from its own budget.
Despite banning some billboards around Yerevan, municipality ad revenues are up by 2.5x.
4x as many construction permits.
7x increase in people contacting city to file a complaint about old projects.
1st deputy PM Tigran Avinyan met Korean ambassador. Tourism from Korea rose 38% 1Hvs1H. Spoke about having direct flights. Asked him to see if Korean tech firms want to do business in Armenia.
President Sarkissian invited SkyPower Global solar energy and utilities firm to visit Armenia. They arrived. Will discuss investment plans in Armenia.
Minister of Labor Batoyan met International Labor Organization rep and spoke about promoting and defending workers.
EU-Arm comprehensive cooperation agreement expects Armenia to implement tougher worker protection practices. For this to happen there needs to be a special inspection office.
Practice shows that after implementing this office, employee-employer problems get resolved without a penalty 90% of the time.
Minister of Nature Eric Grigoryan says the environmental activists who shut down the Amulsar mine roads are currently doing more harm than good.
The govt has already learned, verified by ELARD and others, that there were environmental discrepancies. They need to investigate this further, also as part of the felony coverup investigation.
Because the roads are closed, miner Lydian isn't even arguing whether there is a need for a new comprehensive land assessment SHMAG at the time. Instead, they're complaining that Armenia is unable to secure their access to the mine as legally licensed by the state years ago.
The govt earlier shut down some ministries and merged the duties with others. They cited efficiency as reason, and said that some layoffs will happen over time.
Minister of Infrastructure says in 2020 they'll have 313 workers, down from 413. Only redundant jobs are cut.
For 2020 the Ministry has 23 projects with 127 mini-projects, totaling 353bln.
Nature Ministry will also do similar layoffs. They cut the administrative expenditures (padavat, travel, etc).
Salaries for forest protectors will rise. More to be spent on Sevan cleanup. They begun and will continue to work on throttling runaway fresh water wells in Ararat valley to save water from being wasted.
There is a 680mln project that is currently rehabilitating lands that used to be mining areas, in Artik.
Another 1.1bln project will help poor residents near Khosrov forests to become financially stable enough to reduce their reliance on illegal logging.
Earlier this year Pashinyan threw a temper tantrum when he visited a customs clearance facility and saw the flag on the floor. He yelled at a worker and asked him to be fired.
IRS said they can't fire an employee just because a PM asked, but the employee said he was resigning. Later, it was revealed that he had some back issues.
Today Pashinyan asked the worker Hayk Martirosyan to be hired back. Martirosyan accepted the job offer "with a great pleasure". He'll work as a customs inspector.
Pashinyan then wrote about the need to respect the flag.
Fire an employee.
Re-hire an employee.
Brag about lowering the unemployment.
May-2018 vs Sep-2019 there were 65k more registered jobs in Armenia.
May-2018 vs Oct-27-2019 there are already 75k more.
(10k in 1.5 months)
Traffic rules will be reformed. It affects how you handle small accidents, and traffic jams.
After smashing your car with someone else's, you'll have 10 minutes to clear the road to prevent a traffic jam.
You'll have 40 minutes to call your insurance. No waiting for police or insurance agent. Only call.
This expedited process applies to incident where only 2 cars are involved, at least 1 has an insurance, expected damage is no more than 100k, one side admits the guilt.
There will be an app to let the drivers upload accident photos, at least 3, showing all corners of the scene.
® - is registered trademark of Edward Shawarmazanov.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/dov9m4/anticorruption_news_summary_oct292019_frmr/
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