2020 April 14

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Apr/14/2020 -- Today's News -- Stay up to date on Anti-Corruption, COVID, Economy, Politics, Daily Life, Changes, and more...
by ar_david_hh

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.


Kocharyan's arrest / Supreme Court demands investigation / Catholicos intervenes / Russia-Armenia ties

Robert Kocharyan is in jail. He wants to get out, citing old age and COVID risk, etc.

Garegin 2 Catholicos hopes Rob will be released from jail for health risks.

--

There was supposed to be a trial recently. Several friends of Rob were supposed to guarantee that he would be a good boy if released. The trial was delayed because judge Anna Danibekyan had surgery.

Rob's allies at "Hayeli" and "5 TV" initiated a harassment campaign against the judge. Sensitive personal data was published. The Supreme Court (not Constitutional Court) asked prosecutors to intervene and investigate the harassment.

This isn't the first time this judge is being abused for her earlier verdict to jail Kocharyan. Earlier, the she was followed and harassed by two Kocharyan bloggers.

--

Rob's press secretary: the trial keeps being illegally delayed. There should be another judge if Danibekyan can't fulfill her duties. Kocharyan's arrest is causing big problems in Russian-Armenian relations. [thanks to Rob's efforts?]

IND MP Babajanyan: Robik is a shameless traitor who is making desperate attempts by citing foreign forces.

https://news.am/arm/news/572501.html , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185602 , https://news.am/arm/news/572318.html , https://news.am/arm/news/572320.html , https://factor.am/240746.html

Civil Aviation dispute GETTING SPICY / Foreign auditors

Pashinyan's aviation adviser earlier quit saying his suggestions were ignored.

Civil Aviation (CA) chief Tatevik Revazyan responded:

Govt told us to create a CA development roadmap. The [former Pashinyan] adviser created his own roadmap and refused to cooperate with us. His way or highway.

Adviser wanted to invite 3 foreign experts to work for CA and help us pass EU's safety tests, but in reality, those experts' job was to visit Armenia for 7 days, print out a few papers, tell us how to "cheat" the exam, get paid $30,000, and leave. Moreover, the 3 experts had no expertise in civil aviation, they were airline experts.

When EU came to audit us, they thanked us for not "cheating" by bringing last-minute experts. "We would have known had you attempted it," said EU auditors.

Instead, we chose to pay $4,000 for a Dutch expert to arrive and help us long-term.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185557 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185554 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185561 , https://factor.am/240669.html , https://factor.am/240635.html , https://factor.am/240629.html

Civil Aviation's audit results

Civil Aviation says:

We got 42 remarks from EASA auditor. Not all were violations. We challenged 18.

Example violations:

1) CA failed to implement the safety reporting system mandated by auditors. All incidents were supposed to be reported, while only major ones were reported. We'll fix this.

2) Workforce-in-demand calculations weren't done per standards.

We need to know all the issues dating back to 5 years because any hidden old issue can cause new issues. This history wasn't gathered in one database in the past. We invited foreign experts to help us.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185566 , https://news.am/arm/news/572461.html

Armenian jets in Africa / Years of negligence

CA says:

EASA's recent audit was the first of a kind in its specifics.

Armenian MarsAvia's license was suspended last month. EASA complained that if Armenian airlines aren't properly checked for safety in Armenia, how can the checks be done in Africa?

CA decided to investigate prior safety checks in Africa, and found that up until now, CA hasn't held direct talks with African colleagues about these issues.

Up until now, airline firms were organizing their own non-independent safety checks in Africa. So we decided to prohibit Armenian airlines' unchecked activities in Africa.

Taron Avia had similar issues in Africa. Their license was suspended in 2019. If MarsAvia can't prove their safety by May 1st, we'll shut them down, too. MarsAvia is the only airline that flies to Africa. A Dutch expert is helping them right now.

--

We've made big improvements in our oversight quality recently, but there is a lot more to do. We have an independent group to create a roadmap. We need more cash to hire talented people who'd rather work in private industry due to higher wages. We decided to charge more for some services to generate cash.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185566 , https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1012129.html

Bill to arrest suspects only if absolutely necessary

Cassation and Constitutional Courts asked the govt to reform bail-money laws.

Govt drafted a bill to reform the law that regulates when a suspect can be arrested. It makes arrests "harder". All other options must be exhausted first.

This will also close a loophole that allowed arrested suspects to legally pay bail and walk free, while remaining under arrest de-jure.

Parliament voted 97-1 to pass the bill.

https://hetq.am/hy/article/115919 , https://factor.am/240537.html

UCOM cofounders up the ante

Context: UCOM director Yesayan quit over a dispute with shareholders, and offered to buy 94% of shares for 22bln.

Today he increased the offer to 34bln. "840 workers decided to quit. I asked them to remain in office and keep internet flowing," said Yesayan.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185542

Police abuse, or residents gone mad? / Mayor involved

SIS launched 2 felony investigations against police officials.

One is about a physical conflict between the Sisian police chief and a local politician.

The other incident was reported by an elderly burglary suspect who says a Sisian cop beat him.

Sisian's police chief, now under investigation by SIS, says there is a coordinated campaign against him because he fights crime and corruption.

--

Cops say:

The alleged victims of police abuse ran away with a car after being asked to show ID, then drove back and threatened to assault the cops. Cops went to their homes to bring them to a police station, but they resisted. Bystanders joined the residents and assaulted the cops.

Bystanders were also arrested. Then Sisian mayor came to the police station and demanded the bystanders be released. Cops refused and gave bystanders a ticket.

After the Mayor left, 60 people gathered outside the station and began cursing at cops. They got physical when cops walked outside.

Then multiple residents reported being abused by cops. End of police's version of events.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185545 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185578

How fast is COVID spreading?

Last month the R=2. Each infected made 2 others sick.

Today R=0.9 so the govt decided to reopen some essential businesses.

"If R=0.5 we can think about easing lockdown. Stay home for now," said MP.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185514

Healed = 2 x infected

Pashinyan: we did 685 tests yesterday. 28 infected. 54 healed. 2 deaths (pre-existing conditions).

We're reopening some essential businesses (construction, agriculture, etc.). The emergency crew will consult employers about safety.

--

BHK MP supports re-opening some businesses as long as employers follow safety tips. "Armenia isn't rich enough to afford lengthily economic shutdown."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185521 , https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185523 , https://factor.am/240705.html

Artsakh COVID

3 hotspots. 2 are fully isolated. 1 is still being identified because they are from a larger settlement with many social connections.

7 settlements are on lockdown.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185535 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185577

Artsakh elections / Turnout plummets

2nd round of presidential elections. 111yo Arevhat tati went to vote despite being warned of COVID.

Only 45% voted, vs 73% during 1st round. A 32% turnout in capital Stepanakert.

COVID began shortly before the 2nd round, plus the underdog candidate asked voters to stay home.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185539 , https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185603

problems with remote education

LHK MP: remote education is flawed. Not everyone has PCs. Teachers can't manage a class with 30 kids, so they split the class into 2 groups and end up working 2x as much per day. Govt should allow some classes to be delayed and taken in-person after lockdown ends. https://factor.am/240753.html

Gas prices

BHK MP: I advised govt to renegotiate gas prices. Deputy PM did. They're still discussing border gas prices. Meanwhile, Public Utility must reject the internal gas price hike petition by Gazprom-Armenia.

https://factor.am/240743.html

free railway rides for doctors

South Caucasus Railways made the train rides free for medics. A medic needs a paper from a clinic that verifies it's for a work trip.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185549

transport drivers want aid

The govt banned public transport except for taxis, to slow COVID.

250 marshutka drivers complain they're hungry now, saying they don't qualify for any of 11 aid packages because they weren't receiving standard paychecks.

"We don't qualify for utility bill subsidy either because we burn ֏20k worth gas each month, while the aid is given if you burn less than ֏10k."

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185536

more utility bill subsidy / threshold raised

Govt passed the 12th aid package. It's a supplement to yesterday's utility bill subsidy.

11th aid: 50% subsidy for < ֏10k gas and < ֏5k Dram electric usage.

12th aid: 30% subsidy for < ֏30k gas and < ֏10k electric usage.

400,000 subscribers and their families will qualify.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185560

DDoS-ed lol

The http://online.ssa.am portal, which allows residents to apply to receive aid from one of 12 aid packages, received too many visits immediately after its launch, and was brought down by traffic.

It's back up. 31,000 petitions approved. 21,000 rejected.

https://factor.am/240694.html

shots fired at actor's house

Famous comedian Hovhannes Azoyan: We heard window shattering at 1:25 am and called the cops. The cops came without masks and distancing, as if there is no COVID in Armenia. I've got elderly parents home. Cops said they had no time to put on the gear... I don't think shooting is related to me being assaulted a few months ago.

Police: we found the bullet. We'll examine why officers went without masks.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185524

clinic director is busted

Vanadzor N1 Clinic director is accused of hiring a relative who didn't go to work between 2011-2017 but got paid millions ֏. A felony case is launched.

https://armtimes.com/hy/article/185529

֏146mln property embezzlement busted

Prosecutors say: Cadastre officials hired a firm in 2016. It assessed a govt-owned property at a certain value. The property was sold for that value. However, in 2020, prosecutors found that the real value was 2x higher. 146mln in damages.

A felony case is launched. https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185579

Pass or Fail, instead of points?

Yerevan State University math faculty dean suggest switching to Pass/Fail grading system for exams, instead of the current 20-points system, during COVID. The classes are online now and it would make more sense.

University Council escalated the suggestion to the University administration.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/185493


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/g1by1p/apr142020_todays_news_stay_up_to_date_on/


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