2019 September 3
Anti-Corruption & News - Sep/3/19:: Foreign investor about a 50/50 shakeup scheme by the former govt :: New vs Old Healthcare Ministry :: Cancer :: Constitutional Court - Kocharyan :: Defense & Foreign Ministries :: Manvel Grigoryan & jail :: Extradition :: Mayors down :: Your money :: more..
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.
Despite internal and external accusations of corruption and conflict of interest, the Constitutional Court today begun hearing Kocharyan's petition to decide whether Kocharyan can be arrested as a former president for the things he is charged with, and to decide whether the law 300.1 he is charged with is Constitutional or not.
Constitutional Court judge Vahe Grigoryan earlier explained his position on why 3 of the court members, including court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan, legally aren't allowed to participate in this case due to conflict of interests. The rest of the Court members decided not to hear Grigoyran's arguments and proceeded to hear the Kocharyan case.
Court chief Hrayr Tovmasyan was earlier accused by lawyers of being elected illegally because "he was an acting HHK party member at the time of his appointment", and that former Parliament speaker "made violations of law during the appointment process".
The court will publish the verdict tomorrow.
Kocharyan's supporters and critics were outside of the court. Several people were briefly detained.
As for Kocharyan Squad's March 1st trial, it'll begin in September 12th. The Appeals court earlier found that the higher court's decision to free Kocharyan & 3 others was against the law. It instructed the court to launch a new hearing.
Trump administration earlier made a decision to reduce the foreign humanitarian and security funding for many nations for 2019-2020, including possibly for the organization that clears landmines in Artsakh. Some media outlets speculated this could be related to Armenia's humanitarian aid to Syria, which provides medical and safety services to the Armenian community in Syria.
Roboserj 168jam outlet wrote an article recently, claiming that their "anonymous sources" say the Armenian government very recently received a warning from the US to either pull back the humanitarian mission from Syria, or have reduction in landmine clearing aid.
The Foreign Ministry and the Minister of Defense today denied the rumors, saying they haven't received such demands. The Ministry criticized the media outlets for spreading "fake news" by "re-circulating the same old story that has been denied in past". It is unacceptable to use the safety of the Armenian community in Syria for spreading misinformation, added MFA spokeswoman.
Defense Minister Tonoyan: no such conversations were held with US, the story is false. We'll continue the humanitarian mission in Syria.
Journalist: Israel recently bombed Lebanon. Any news from the 30 Armenian peacekeepers (part of UN mission) stationed there?
Tonoyan: the peacekeepers weren't harmed. Our group is on high alert and is awaiting for instructions.
The court has denied another attempt by Manvel "Tushonka" Grigoryan's lawyers to post a 25mln bail and release him from jail.
Earlier, Armenian prosecutors said they received news from the Russian prosecutors saying that Panama Paper fugitive and former HHK politician Mihran Poghosyan cannot be extradited. Today, the Armenian ambassador to Russia said the Russian authorities did not actually refuse to extradite Poghosyan, but they asked the Armenian prosecutors for more documents to make a final decision. This contradicts the Russian letter published by the Armenian prosecutors. Time will tell?
NSS has caught the former mayor of Charchakis with abusing his powers, bypassing legally required steps, and illegally signing some contract with a person and paying funds from the city budget. Felony case is launched.
The NSS and police busted Alagyaz municipality workers. They are accused of signing a contract with someone to receive garbage collection and water delivery services. The job wasn't done, but the staff paid the contractors from the budget. Felony case is launched.
Armenia's foreign reserves rose by 11.3% in June 19vs18. Total of $2.2bln.
Central Bank says a lot of you have been importing cars like a madman in recent months, before the new 2020 EAEU tariffs go into effect. As a result, cash outflow from Armenia has doubled for a short period, totaling $126mln. Outflow to Russia up 7%, to USA up 2.4x. Another reason why the cash outflow is significantly more than in 2018, is because 2018 was a "low" year.
Wider period of 1H19 vs 1H18: inflow up 10%, outflow up 19%.
Yerevan revenues grew 2.2bln compared to the same period of 2018.
While you were asleep, Santa came and installed 750 garbage bins in Yerevan's Ajapnyak district.
City explains why they recently refused to pay 330mln to Sanitek: contract says Sanitek does 100% collection and receives $100/year. Sanitek only did 90% of the job so we deducted $10 from the paycheck for the period.
City suspects Sanitek is sabotaging the garbage collection by refusing to do their job unless they're paid 100%. City says the city itself currently has 9 snow and 25 garbage trucks, with 25 more garbage trucks on their way.
Today's drama brought to you by...
Healthcare Minister Torosyan earlier reversed a decision by HHK that would privatize the National Institute of Oncology, saying "it's too vital and should stay under govt control". The institute's director Armen Tananyan was fired.
Today, an oncologist and former Ministry adviser Gevorg Tamamyan, who was recently quit/fired, interrupted a press-conference scheduled by Minister Torosyan. Torosyan offered him to join the journalists and wait for his turn to ask questions, but the latter kept asking questions. Torosyan didn't like this and left the room. Tamamyan then accused Torosyan of bad management, corruption, and made personal attacks against Torosyan's health and the fact that he served not on the frontlines
. Torosyan says this was a show by a disgruntled former employee "who claims to care about the medical field but instead choose to launch personal attacks".
Regarding the accusation of corruption. Tamamyan claimed that Torosyan's wife, manager of a hospital, suspiciously received 2.4bln funding from the Ministry. Torosyan responded saying his wife has been a director in one of those clinics, and just as any other clinic, it received funding from the Ministry based on the performance, and that the funding isn't 2.7bln but significantly lower than that.
The hospital thing is an old Roboserj conspiracy theory back from February. Last year the Ministry changed the way they subsidize hospitals. Hospitals that receive good rating and have more out-of-pocket patients, will receive more subsidy because if the person chooses to spend own money in that hospital, that means they are doing something right. This encourages hospitals/clinics to improve themselves: http://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/155090
Torosyan says the incident was organized by the former HHK Healthcare Minister Armen Muradyan with whom the relations aren't good, who is "afraid that he'll lose his current job because of his past and how he came to power". The personal attack against him started last year through Roboserj medial outlet "Joghovurd", after the Ministry begun making personnel changes in the medical field, added Torosyan.
Former Minister Muradyan responded to Torosyan saying the protester is in fact his friend and a colleague, but he denied organizing any protests. https://factor.am/180105.html
Torosyan published a document showing a complaint written against the now-former Director of Oncology doctor Tananyan, exposing problems with foreign investments. The doc is written by a subsidiary of one of the largest medical tech makers in the field, called Varian Medical Systems America.
The below is what the investor writes in the complaint letter:
...the cancer rates are high in Armenia, 7k new cases per year, one of the highest when it comes to cancer deaths. Only one national institute of Oncology exists. The center has only 1 functional radiotherapy device, and is insufficient and is of a low quality. Company decides to invest in cancer treatment in Armenia, and met Tananyan, the [now former] director of Oncology institute. Decision was made to register a new subsidiary firm in Armenia and use it for investments in Oncology Institute.
During this process, Tananyan demanded 50% of the company's shares. Investor refused, saying since all the finances comes from them, Tananyan should get a smaller share. Tananyan then told the investor that in order to do business in Armenia, a certain share must be given to the government of Armenia.
Investor was forced to agree. 50% of shares were registered under Tananyan's brother. The firm leased a land from Oncology Institute to do its work. Tananyan was obligated to do repair works on the property and buy a few necessary products, while the firm takes care of the equipment. Director Tananyan, however, refused to pay for the products, claiming that during the recent elections he had to spend a lot of money 👌 and he is broke . The firm agreed to take care of it all. Firm complains that the Oncology made no contributions during this process.
The firm then decided to take out a loan from a bank to cover some of the costs. Tananyan demanded 50% of the loan to be given to him. There was no agreement, so no loan was taken out. The process continued...
Before everything was ready, Tananyan came and told the firm that President Serj's office is pressuring him to finish the project soon so they can cut the red tape. One day before the opening ceremony, Tananyan came and told them that the president's office gave an instruction to confine the firm's representatives' access only to a specific part of the building and not to be present during the opening ceremony, to apparently increase Tananyan's authority in the institute. The Iranian embassy (Iran is where this firm's direct subsidiary was) had to intervene to allow the investors participate in some of the events.
Investor firm felt discouraged by the lies from Tananyan, pressures from his brother, accusations of the equipment being used, etc. They contacted Serj but no help was given. Three months after the tech was installed, it's still not operational.
The investor asked the Healthcare Ministry to remove Tananyan from the process and do the following:
Begin to operate the equipment.
Invite foreign specialists for cooperation.
Help to increase the number of equipment to 4.
Create a plan to boost the culture of preventative cancer screening.
Firm will help patients who cannot be cured in Armenia, to travel abroad.
End of letter. Signed by Muhammad Shahrami, the director of the subsidiary firm.
Torosyan answered the journalist's questions outside of the conference room:
Journalist: Why was Oncology Institute director Tananyan fired?
Torosyan: Oncology Institute received the most complaints by patients. Complaints were also filed regarding his work, and he was preventing international investments with his actions. The Oncology Institute will develop much faster without him. Financial and organizational problems will be resolved. There could be other terminations, but not on a mass scale. The institute will hire knowledgeable professionals. The deputy-director also left the institute, he had another job offer. The new director is Narek Manukyan.
Healthcare Minister Torosyan: The first bone marrow transplant surgery on a child in Armenia was done in 2019. There is also a registry for adults to receive such transplant. 4 kids and 10 adults have already received the surgery. Soon, the transplant will be 100% free subsidized by the govt. In addition, the Ministry received enough funding to subsidize 12 kidney transplants.
Torosyan: Hepatitis-C hormone drugs will become free for some patients beginning 2020. The infection rates are down compared to 2018. Vaccines and preventative measures have resulted in Hep-B going down 1.2x, Hep-C down 1.5x.
Torosyan: there will be a new unified blood donor center that will collect and distribute blood across Armenia. Doctors can place orders or go pick up blood when needed. This will prevent the patient from wasting time while looking for blood, and to prevent improper transportation of the blood that is currently done by non-professionals in some cases.
Civil Aviation chief Revazyan: Zvartnots apricot has reduced fees for small passenger jets. The Civil Aviation itself will reduce the navigation fees by 70% for these jets.
Link to original report: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/czamu0/anticorruption_news_sep319_foreign_investor_about/
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