2019 September 10
Anti-Corruption & News - Sep/10/2019 :: Serj's bro charged with 50/50 scheme :: Wages up, Unemployment down, Labor Market :: Prosecutors vs Rob admin :: Prosecutors & Sanitek auction :: EAEU drivers :: It's illegal not to hire based on political views/age/gender :: Drug prices :: other stories
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 4.8pt (7 underground) earthquake in Bavra, Shirak province. Telecom in Vanadzor was cut off. It was felt in Yerevan. There was an aftershock. No damages or casualties.
Serj's brother Lyova "50/50" Sargsyan, who is on the run, is officially charged with 2 felony counts of embezzlement during the North-South highway construction. The police is looking for him. Prosecutors have asked the court for an arrest warrant.
NSS and Prosecutors say:
A company was hired to do construction work. This company was supposed to hire qualified subcontractors with the permission of the Ministry of Transport. However, Levon Sargsyan became part of the process and became the one to decide which company to hire. He instructed to hire POLYTRANSPORT firm managed by Suren & Gevorg Vardanyan. Turns out Lyova was friends with Vardanyan brothers. (insert a meme here before publishing).
During the $250 million project, he demanded 50% of the profit from a director of a company in exchange for making favorable rulings in the company's favor. He then allegedly laundered the cash.
The general prosecutor wants to reverse a decision made by the Kocharyan regime.
There used to be an MP named Smbat Ayvazyan (SA). He was an ally of the opposition Hanrapetutyun Party run by Vazgen's bro. After the 2008 elections, SA joined the protesters. "Something happened" and he had to be arrested.
Policeman said they found a baton in his possession, and SA allegedly resisted the arrest and pushed the policeman. SA was sentenced to 2 years by the court. In 2009, SA appealed it in Appeals court, but got rejected. Same year the Cassations Court refused to hear whether the Appeals court verdict was legal.
SA died in 2014.
After the 2018 revolution, the prosecutors begun reviewing old cases. Now the general prosecutor believes the courts blatantly violated SA's rights by ignoring simple things, such as not allowing the defendant to bring witnesses, ignoring European conventions, relying too much on statements by a policeman.
Prosecutors says the European Court for Human Rights recently made a verdict against someone suing the Armenian govt for the 2008 events. In that case, ECHR found that it's not a solid evidence when the sole witness is a policeman who is part of the case, especially if there are contradicting statements. Not enough efforts was put to investigate truthfulness of policeman report, found ECHR in that case.
Prosecutor believes a similar story happened with SA. He has petitioned the Cassations Court to overturn the guilty verdict.
Garbage collector company Sanitek is in the news again. They haven't been doing any work for over a week.
It turns out they haven't paid employee salaries for August. Sanitek says it's because the city didn't pay them. Sanitek employees gathered outside of Yerevan city hall to demand their salaries from the city. City official met them, told them the city paid its fees mandated by the contract, and offered the workers a job at the city-run garbage service. The employees refused. Yesterday several employees agreed to move from Sanitek to city.
Mayor Marutyan later gave a press conference, saying Sanitek is blaming the city for Sanitek's own failures. Marutyan said they only withheld 9% of the funding (because 9% of the work wasn't done). City says they paid Sanitek enough funds for August, and that the employees were allegedly mislead by the company about the reasons of them not getting paid.
City will provide legal services to Sanitek employees to get their salaries. The city-run garbage collecting service that was created few months ago will eventually replace Sanitek, and is structured in a way to function properly for years to come, said Marutyan. City is still waiting for dozens of garbage trucks to arrive and join the fleet. Municipality says they'll do a better job with the same 5.2bln that they currently pay to Sanitek.
Earlier, we learned that when Sanitek won an auction several years ago to do business in Yerevan, they were supposed to handle only half of the city. For some reason, the city and Sanitek decided that the firm could handle the whole city. They organized a fake auction for the 2nd half of city, in which Sanitek's own subsidiary acted as a dummy competitor. As a result, Sanitek won the right to serve the entire city. Mayor Marutyan wants the prosecutors to examine the auction process. 👉 🕔
Mayor: as of right now, 6,500 m2 land has been recovered and returned to kindergartens. (In the past years, city authorized numerous private firms and oligarchs to take kindergarten building sections, while people complained about not enough kindergartens and space.)
Mayor: Yerevan municipality has stepped into the 21st century. They'll finally vote through a touch screen instead of hands. The existing expensive button tech was purchased years ago but wasn't being used.
Mayor says the former regime appropriated 90% of the good lands in Yerevan and sold it to its friends and relatives under suspicious circumstances. Today, when a good project is proposed by someone and a land is needed, it becomes apparent that it's not there and that it's all owned by the same circle.
City has collected info on how exactly these lands were sold and bought, and sent it to the prosecutors.
(Earlier the prosecutors filed felony charges against the former Yerevan mayor Zakharyan for the alleged illegal sale of a park area to Rob-linked hotel.)
An EAEU related law was passed in Russia earlier, which prohibited drivers with Armenian licenses from driving in Russia for commercial reasons (taxi, truck, etc). It appears that it was passed for all EAEU members but due to some paperwork language related reasons, Armenia is the only EAEU state affected by this. A high ranking Russian official Zatulin thinks it's discriminatory against Armenia.
Not everyone is happy about this in Armenia. There are talks in the Parliament and the police about passing a mirror law prohibiting Russian drivers' licenses from being valid for commercial work on Armenian streets.
Several QP and BHK MPs have argued that there is no need for ինադ ընգնել, and that this law against Armenians isn't practically enforced in Russia.
MFA says they're working with the Russians to "fix" it.
In a blow to LHK, their now-former MP Arman Babajanyan has refused to return the mandate to LHK. He will serve as an independent MP.
Babajanyan quit few days ago after complaining that the parliamentary opposition isn't trying hard enough, which could allow "criminal Roboserj circles" to position themselves as "the opposition".
Another reason for the dissatisfaction was LHK's mild stance on Russia. Babajanyan is a vocal critic of the Russian politics.
They adopted the resolution to prevent double taxation and tax evasion with Danmark.
They adopted a resolution to approve the military cooperation with Lebanon for 2019 (whatever that means).
Parliament unanimously passed the bill proposed by BHK to prohibit hiring discrimination based on age, gender, political views, race, etc.
Parliament approved a draft bill by QP that will prevent employers from abusing contractors in some circumstances.
Parliament narrowly rejected a BHK bill that would eliminate VAT tax at the border. The idea was to let businesses import, then tax later. Some analysts argued that the govt would lose important funds if the bill is approved.
The govt submitted a bill to Parliament to require anyone above 16 to get a license to ride moped on the public roads. It will also simplify the vehicle sale process by allowing some things to be done online.
The govt is still working on a new mining transparency bill to reveal mining owners. The European practice is that anyone who owns over 25% of the mining company shares, must be made public. In Armenia, they want to make it stricter, requiring >10% owners to be exposed. LHK wants that number to be even lower.
People complain that the same imported drugs cost higher in Armenia than in other nations. Economic competition body says that's partially because foreign firms have different prices for different countries.
Another cause is the existing law that prevents cheaper alternatives from being imported due to slight component differences with the already-authorized drugs in the market. This ban is a safety measure.
However, there are drugs that aren't harmful even if there is a slight difference in the ingredient proportions. The committee plans to submit a bill to allow easier imports of these drugs.
Heart surgery costs have gone down since last year. As a result, very few people are traveling to Georgia for surgery, says Minister Torosyan. The govt subsidizes some heart surgeries.
Pashinyan: Since May-2018 there have been 63,200 officially newly registered jobs. (minority of which are newly created jobs). It brings the number of workers in the country to record high. 23% of them work at government institutes.
The number of registered workers now vs Jan-2018 is higher by 18%. There are 601k workers. An 8% rise versus June-2018.
The monthly fee paid by each worker towards the army is up by 10%.
Highest number of public workers are in the education field. 101k work there. Largest private sector job field is car sales & repair business.
The number of registered unemployed people is down by 6% in 1H19vs18, and down by 19% versus 2017. Vayits Dzor, Lori and Armavir provinces had the highest unemployment drops.
Overall unemployment went down and up since 2018, overall down 0.3% as of 1Q19.
Job seekers are looking 1.5x as many workers through govt channels. Industry and trade sector has seen an increase in hiring activities.
Average monthly nominal salary is up by 6% and is 178.3k. ($374)
Pashinyan: the Labor Ministry saved 3.8bln in 1H19 from the pension fund. That money will be used for other social programs that needed to be done long time ago.
There won't be dick-swinging through the display of weapons during this year's Independence Day celebrations. The govt plans to begin a march from military cemetery Yerablur, and hold the main festivities in Gyumri city.
Henrik Mkhitaryan gave a press briefing. He was asked if there'll be a problem with his possible visits to Turkey, considering the recent Baku visit fiasco. Miki explained the Italian media that AM-TUR relations are different and he has never had issues going there.
Last week he payed against the Italian national team. Today he met the same players, but now as Roma teammates. What a small world...
Italian player Balotelli asks Miki in Armenian : Միկի՛, Իտալիայում կայֆ ա, չէ՞
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/d2cqqy/anticorruption_news_sep102019_serjs_bro_charged/
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