2019 October 4
Anti-Corruption & News Summary from Armenia - Oct/4/2019 :: California restricts investments in Turkey -- Genocide :: Garbage reforms :: High ranking official busts :: Parliament vs CC chief :: Foreign policy :: Sports :: Parliament to examine mining deals :: Emergency Ministry :: Airlines :: Prices
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.
Ind. MP Babajanyan earlier sent an letter to Parliament asking it to investigate a possible illegal procedure while Hrayr Tovmasyan (HT) was appointed as Constitutional Court (CC) chief by HHK in 2018. (HT was still a HHK MP at the time of appointment)
Today, Babajanyan sent a petition to prosecutors to intervene.
HT earlier accused Parliament's legal affairs department of not properly notifying him about the upcoming hearing ahead of time.
The agency's chief admitted to making a mistake in the paperwork, but said they made a phone call and notified CC before the paperwork was sent, informing HT ahead of time. The Parliament is not obligated to invite a court member to testify; this was done as a "courtesy".
Parliament's legal affair chief accused HT of sensationalizing a non-issue to use it as a political tool.
HT gave other reasons for not going to Parliament yesterday.
Today Parliament passed a resolution with a 98-1 vote to ask CC members to vote their chief HT out. QP and LHK voted yes. BHK didn't vote.
Speaker QP Mirzoyan:
Parliament had properly notified HT ahead of time to appear and answer questions, but he refused. The fact that HT only apologized to BHK for not appearing and answering their questions, while ignoring the other parties, shows that HT is politically motivated.
It doesn't matter that a judge used to be a member of a political party. What matters is whether they are currently unbiased or not. HT has failed to address the bias concerns in the past several months, and has a motivation to support HHK agenda.
We will accept any decision made by CC members. Hopefully they'll be unbiased.
(for HT to be removed from chief's position, 2/3rd of CC members have to vote in favor)
QP joined a BHK proposal to create an 11-member Parliamentary group that will help the govt by auditing mining industry's investment offers, their feasibility and legality. 111-0-1 vote.
Police says they busted the (former) Nor Norq district administrator and his colleagues with corruption between 2012-2018.
Nor Norq administrators threatened to evict businesses from a govt-run building unless they paid a combined 11.3mln bribe to "Nor Norq development fund" in 2012-2018. The foundation was closed in Dec-2016 but district admins didn't notify the businesses about it, and instead demanded 900k bribe to be given in cash directly to them. This lasted until May-2018 (nice date).
Between 2014-2016, Nor Norq admins chose the aforementioned foundation to help organize Genocide memorial events. The foundation then gave 7mln cash to several employees in the department, as atkat. Docs were falsified to claim this money was spent on memorial events.
Felony case is launched.
At least a $1mln worth Ayvazovsky painting is among the many art pieces that a famous Russian-Armenian comedian Eugene Petrosyan is trying to share with his wife as part of the divorce process. He can't get in his house to collect the belongings because the court gave the wife the right to guard the belongings.
4th incident in 2 weeks: someone burned down a new garbage bin purchased by Yerevan municipality.
Emergency Minister Tsolakyan:
We plan to purchase 4 rescue helicopters soon. Up until recently, the firefighters didn't have basic portable tools that is used inside forests where trucks can't go.
Japan recently gave 18 trucks. 22 on the way. Soon we'll buy 26 from Russia. This will help to fill void in provinces.
In Jan-Oct period we had 3,000 more fire incidents this year than last year (total 8.5k).
Residents called 911 emergency line 1.4mln times this year so far. (wth?)
3rd party Georgian opposition figure Mamuka Khazaradze, the owner of largest bank and a one-time ally of the ruling party, is complaining about the state of the Georgian economy. He says Armenia is doing better now with a significantly more stable currency.
(what about Moldova?)
January- August air traffic stats between Georgia and Armenia:
2018v2017 up 100%.
2019vs2018 up 161%.
Civil Aviation chiefs met and signed an agreement to cooperate with standardization and monitoring of certain things.
Russian Pegas Fly airline will operate regular flights between Yerevan and Nizni Novgorod.
South-Caucasus railways director says cargo transport rose 7.7% YoY. Passenger traffic rose 13%. Wagon renovations rose 24%.
Between 2009-2019, Gyumri's state-funded Athletics Sports-center director registered family members and others as fake employees to deduct salaries for embezzlement. 30mln was stolen. Felony case is launched.
Health Minister Torosyan earlier fired the director of National Oncology Center (the case in which foreign medical business spoke about Serj govt's shakedown practices). A new director was appointed. This director fired an employee who illegally took 400,000 AMD from a patient, says Torosyan.
The fired doctor's son got mad, came to hospital, attacked the new director. Police was called.
Update: Education Ministry will implement online classes in all schools by Sep-2020.
There are 500 schools that have a teacher shortage. Remote teaching will help to fill the void.
2 schools in Ararat and Gegharquniq have been selected for a pilot program. They're also helping schools to solve the problem with lack of computers.
Simultaneously, there is an established program that distributes teachers from Yerevan to provinces.
The Appeals Court has upheld a 2-month arrest warrant for former IRS boss Gagik Khachatryan's nephew, who is accused of embezzlement during his work at the agency. He was arrested in August.
The police has busted in-home elderly care govt-funded agency's director with a 28mln embezzlement. 2012-2019. Felony case is launched.
Yerevan's 2801 birthday will be celebrated in October 18. This year the city will spend "record low" 150mln, vs 1bln for last year. Festivities will be in 12 districts.
Yerevan municipality councilman Manrikyan:
If we canceled the agreement with Sanitek garbage collector few months earlier, the garbage collection would be entirely paralyzed. Even with few trucks, Sanitek was still adding to the work done by the city.
We have some concerns about Sanitek taking us to the international court because of the way the former govt signed the contracts with Sanitek. It could play in Sanitek's hand.
(Context: some residents have been wondering why it took so long to get rid of Sanitek)
Mayor's spokesman Karapetyan:
We had to make sure we could handle the garbage ourselves before canceling the contract. In June-September 2019 we audited Sanitek's equipment inventory. It revealed contract violations, which helped the city to make the legal decision to terminate the contract.
City is spending the same 5.2bln that it was giving to Sanitek.
Garbage fee will remain 200 AMD for residents.
The city is working on a bill that could eliminate the garbage fee collection from residents, and instead charge a Garbage Tax from product importers, because the imported product would eventually generate garbage. Local product producers could be exempt from this tax. (still being discussed)
Municipality council's opposition members supported the decision to cancel the contract with Sanitek.
Consumer product prices Sep-2019 vs Sep-2018
Overall 0.5% up.
Food and non-alcohol down 1.4%,
communications down 0.1%,
leisure and arts down 1.2%,
clothing up 9%,
alcohol/tobacco up 4.7%.
Pashinyan: 6 private firms are currently delivering higher quality food to 7,000 soldiers. The soldiers are satisfied. We need to do math to see if the new system met the initial expectations, and how to move forward.
(The govt earlier found embezzlement and other quality issues with the old food delivery system, and decided to gradually privatize it by the end of 2020.)
President Sarkissian went to Serbia, met the president, thanked for 1988 help after earthquake, spoke about cooperation.
Serb president wants to cooperate in tech sector and education. Urged mutual investments, said Serbian young scientists should consider to visit Armenia for education.
US Senator Frank Pallone went from Artsakh to Armenia, spoke with various officials. He said he'll talk to Google and PayPal administrators. Google Maps has inaccuracies in Armenia and Artsakh, which causes tourists and residents to take long routes. YouTube's certain functions aren't available in Armenia. PayPal has a limited functionality in Armenia.
tanks Frankie 👍
California governor Gavin Newsom has signed into a law Resolution AB 1320 prohibiting the state pension fund from making investments in organizations with ties to Turkish government, due to their lack of recognition of the 1915 Genocide. The resolution was authored by Adrin Nazaryan (district 46).
Tank you gavin. really cool. 👍
Armenia moved up 6 positions - to the 36th place - in UEFA country ranking because of the recent somewhat successful club matches by Ararat, Pyunik, Alashkert, Banants.
Most prestigious league belongs to Spain, followed by England and Germany.
Armenian soccer fan group FAF interrupted Dedelande vs Azeri Qarabag soccer match by using a drone to fly the Artsakh flag above the pitch. The video shows panicked Azeri players running around and trying to knock the drone down. The game was interrupted.
This isn't the first time the madlads troll a match. During an earlier Arsenal vs Qarabag match FAF's fan ran onto the pitch with the Artsakh flag.
FAF says they'll continue to troll. It's a way to raise awareness about Azerbaijan's propaganda machine around the Karabakh issue, says the group.
Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/ddc3a3/anticorruption_news_summary_from_armenia_oct42019/
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