2020 April 6

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Apr/6/2020 -- Today's news stories TLDR -- Pashinyan's Q&A - Many topics - Weapon smuggling in Africa, Artsakh election fraud, Police contract abuse, Which officials are charged?, Prosecutors less likely to arrest, Road repair fraud, COVID - domestic tests - tunnel light, ... a lot 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.


ICYM

In case you missed the Sunday news about Civil Aviation and other stories.

https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fvogn7/apr52020_daily_news_summary_civil_aviation/?

Artsakh election fraud busted / police in hot water

Armenia sent the NGO Informed Citizens to monitor last week's Artsakh elections. The NGO audited the voter lists and accidentally discovered a fraud. They said:

Artsakh police committed a felony. They included the same voter in 2 stations. The voter ended up voting in both stations. (so he knew he was going to be added?)

The voter was registered as residing - and was physically residing - in one location, yet the police registered him elsewhere, too. The way the system works makes it obvious that the police did this on purpose manually.

We asked the police to give us the full voter lists but they said: "we didn't save them". This is against the law. The voter list based on voters' residence must be preserved in addition to other lists. We contacted prosecutors.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184931

Tag: #VoterList #ArtsakhElections

SOC audits police / competition = savings

The State Oversight Committee audited the police for the 3rd time and said:

2014-2019 finances relating construction, uniform purchases, the lawfulness of decisions to drop investigations against suspects, were audited.

They purchased uniforms from one seller without a proper auction between 2014-2018. When in 2019, for the first time, the police organized a proper auction, the price of some items decreased by 50%. (YOU'RE A WIZARD, HARRY). 470mln in damages is suspected.

In 2007-2011 some dudes, unaffiliated with the Police Forces, held high ranking positions and ranks there. (wth?)

Potentially 739mln in damages while purchasing items.

Construction expenditure exceeded the legal limit by 538mln.

48mln paid for construction work that wasn't done. 51mln-on useless construction projects.

107mln in uncollected penalties.

6mln on double-paying for the same work.

54mln spent on employees who didn't work.

ticket stats

In 2014-2019, drivers disputed 8500 tickets issued by patrol police. The 900 were dismissed.

In 2018-2019, drivers disputed 14000 camera-tickets. 12000 were dismissed.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184893

Who went to jail? Corruption / arrests / charges

New stats came about corruption-related charges during preliminary investigations. 2019 vs 2018:

+32% corruption charges filed.

-40% drop in people who were arrested during the investigation but later found to be innocent. An indication that law enforcement is less "trigger happy" when it comes to arresting suspects.

Big drop in % of suspects whom the prosecutors wanted to see in jail for extended periods pre-trial. (cries in Robik)

--

-16% drop in arrests during the investigation.

-50% drop in suspects who weren't physically found by investigators.

Corruption charges were dropped against 375 people, out of whom 29% were found to be innocent, while 71% was due to statute of limitations or mass amnesty.

~half of 2019 corruption suspects were public officials, that's +13% vs 2018.

--

Out of those charged public officials:

2 former Presidents, 3 deputy Ministers, 1 SOC chief, 2 judges, 1 prosecutor, 1 police forces chief, 1 former police chief, 1 former Presidential chief of staff, 1 former chief prosecutor, 1 former IRS boss, 1 former governor, 27 policemen (including high ranking), 9 agriculture ministry staff, 10 IRS agents, 8 Investigative Committee staff, 3 NSS agents, 10 penitentiary staff (including 2 bosses), 3 SOC agents, 1 Emergency Ministry official, any many more rank-and-file. Full list below

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184912

Tag: #ArrestStats #Arrests #WhoWentToJail

prosecutors bust coordinated campaign to defraud govt

The governor of Lori snitched on construction fraud. Prosecutors released a report saying:

4 settlements signed contracts with 3 companies to do 365mln-worth road construction in 2019.

The construction companies violated the contracts and used cheap materials, then colluded with the agency that was supposed to monitor the asphalt quality. The agency claimed the work was done properly.

They were busted after another govt agency double-tested the asphalt. A felony case is launched with 5 counts.

https://factor.am/238236.html

Serzh is invited to testify

The govt has been auditing the work done by higher-ups during the April 2016 Artsakh battles to see if anyone dropped the ball. Several officials were questioned.

President Serzh Sargsyan has been invited to the committee for questioning. HHK is concerned about holding such sessions during COVID.

https://factor.am/238105.html

soldier wounded

An Armenian soldier was wounded from enemy fire on the border. He's transported to Yerevan. He's doing fine.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184880

Pashinyan & Putin talk gas

Leaders of AM and RU had a phone convo to discuss gas prices after Armenia sent a letter asking for a price reduction due to COVID and global energy trends.

AM also thanked RU for securing the passage of AM cargo trucks and keeping the trade flowing between two countries.

Deputy PM says the RU govt has agreed to organize the 2nd special flight to bring the AM citizens stuck in RU.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184910

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184944

Pashinyan holds an online Q&A / broad range of questions

1st lady Hakobyan reads questions from Facebook users, while PM answers them:

Q: high ranking officials and pensionaries both got a raise, but officials got a much higher raise. You opposed govt salary rise in the past. How come u giving a raise now?

A: I've opposed many things in the past due to the political condition & corruption of those days. I voted against all international loan agreements because as long as a corrupt regime was in charge, they would steal the money. Today, we have a different system so we support loans. Same about officials' salaries. They used to get a salary AND a bribe, now it's just a salary. I instructed the March-2020 bonuses to be canceled. If we used those bonuses on seniors' pension, each senior would only get 165 Drams/month (33 Cents).

--

Q: were Artsakh elections fair? Has there been a "revolution" in Artsakh? There are reports of bribery.

A: There was no "revolution" in Artsakh, but there was no anti-revolution either. Roboserj forces were destroyed. We must help new govt to do reforms. The quality of the elections wasn't ideal.

--

Q: you encouraged farmers to work but farmers don't have money and the banks aren't providing loans. ACBA bank isn't helping.

A: We removed all interest rates on almost all farming loans. The micro-loan interest is also annulled. ACBA will provide its 2bln reserves to people. The process began today, there are queue lines. 1mln micro-loans with 0% interest. The govt waits for ACBA's 2bln reserve to end so the govt can give it more funds.

--

Q: When will the yellow press be punished for fake news? You and I become subject to insults by them. Please punish them.

A: fake news comes in two types: those place national security at risk, and those who curse and do personal verbal attacks. You remember earlier how Armenian fake news was widely consumed by Iranian media and public, and it became an anti-Armenian tool in the hands of Azeris. A felony case was launched because of a national security threat. As for personal insults and comic caricature, it's an important part of democracy. They shouldn't be punished. Just block those users or report them to Facebook. (🚨 SNITCH PATROL 🚨)

--

Q: Food prices are skyrocketing in Vanadzor. Why? There will be a famine soon.

A: There won't be famine. Inflation was quite low in 2019. We're examining the Vanadzor food price hike you mentioned. Yesterday we examined large supermarkets and bread prices were the same [later reports showed a 10% rise in some places]. Some food prices did rise, partly due to devaluation. We're helping the food importers with one of the 9 aid packages we passed last week. EAEU trade bloc agreed to remove import taxes on imported products. Economic Competition Committee monitors prices daily. More details later.

--

Q: why are Armenian cargo trucks stuck in long queues in Upper Lars passage between Georgia-Russia?

A: Weather, COVID, and the fact that Turkish trucks began using Lars because of Black Sea port issues. Turkey has issues with its borders and had to re-route stuff. [ironic]

--

Q: I worked but my employer didn't want to register me legally. Now I'm out of work. I was the only bread earner.

A: You qualify for the 9th aid package we passed last week, more might come. Report your employer to the IRS. You would have qualified for more help had you been registered.

--

Q: Will you do rent control? Landlords slap any number they want.

A: No. We should try to raise people's income instead. I think the rent will drop due to COVID.

--

Q: will you give teachers a raise?

A: teachers are doing great under COVID. 80% of system has switched to remote classes. We gave teachers a 10% rise in late-2019 and raised the minimum դրույք to 108k in Jan-2020. Right now I can't promise more raises under these conditions.

--

Q: will you remove the cellphone roaming between Artsakh and Armenia so soldiers can talk to family for a cheaper price?

A: That process has already begun. From Artsakh to Armenia the price went from 45 to 29 Drams. From Armenia to Artsakh from 45 to 15 Drams.

--

Q: any plans to increase COVID testing?

A: we'll do 1,000 daily tests, 2-3x higher than now. We're buying 70,000 tests soon. We're discussing with the molecular institute to produce tests in Armenia. Today we made a decision to buy the products needed to produce tests.

--

Q: what's the deal with Civil Aviation and licensing?

A: the Armenian airlines [didn't clarify 2 or all, Civil Aviation says 2] lost the right to fly to the EU, thanks to long-standing issues and sabotage from within our system. This is the inner-system resistance that I spoke about in Kapan in 2019. There is a felony case. [read yesterday's post for details]. Former officials committed crimes and negligence. Armenian jets were used to secretly traffic illegal weapons in Africa, for years. I'm not sad about the airline license revocations. Exposing these issues will make Civil Aviation better in the future.

--

Pashinyan was dry-coughing throughout the entire 3.5-hour Q&A. "It's the cough I developed from the revolution-days..... hopefully," joked the sweaty Prime Minister while coughing on his wife sitting in front of him, with uncovered mouth.

https://factor.am/238269.html

https://factor.am/238177.html

https://factor.am/238171.html

https://factor.am/238163.html

https://factor.am/238276.html

https://factor.am/238293.html

https://factor.am/238210.html

https://factor.am/238206.html

https://factor.am/238183.html

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184966

https://factor.am/238303.html

https://factor.am/238312.html

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1011363.html

https://youtu.be/XW4lCHnu_-4

daily COVID cases drop, a glimmer of hope?

Doctors published the April 5th stats on April 6th. Only 11 new infections. 1 more death with a chronic underlying condition.

Pashinyan: this is unprecedented nowadays, it's good news. If we follow the lockdown orders for another week, we might be able to break COVID's back. If we succeed we might slowly lift the lockdown. There is a big "if" there. COVID can co-exist with us while we return to work, as long as we know it's not spreading. We'll monitor stats for the following days. We have to follow maximum strict lockdown guidelines now to get results.

https://www.facebook.com/nikol.pashinyan/videos/249139336486107/

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184883

crime is lowering / gazebo-patrol

Police say the crime is significantly down after the lockdown order. No specific stats yet.

Police says they get many reports of people ignoring lockdown order and hanging out in backyard gazebos. "We have patrols that visit backyards to the best of their ability. We urge people to stay home."

https://factor.am/238128.html

https://factor.am/238084.html

grandma wants to kiss your neck

A doctor treating COVID patients told a story about how one COVID-granny keeps saying 'Thanks for your help, nurse, come here let grandma kiss you.'

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184901

preparing for more COVID / what do you need?

Armenia has 1,400 quarantined beds ready for COVID. Half is full.

Most patients don't have symptoms. 146 have pneumonia. 35 in serious. 8 in critical.

COVID cases double every 8 days, down from 7 days (a slight improvement).

COVID infections in the past few days: +4.6%, +6.8%, +1.3% (yesterday).

1500 quarantined and 5000 self-quarantined. The numbers will drop soon.

--

After months of misleading the public, international scientists finally admitted that masks are effective against COVID, in part because they prevent people from touching their face.

"Reusable masks can be made at home but they need to be disinfected properly. We'll post instruction soon," said healthcare Minister Torosyan.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184922

how NOT to protect against COVID?

8 people died in Azerbaijan after drinking methyl alcohol. They thought it would disinfect their bodies and protect against COVID.

https://factor.am/238142.html

donations

Eduardo Eurnekian has donated 125mln to Armenia to fight COVID. So far about a billion Drams has been collected.

https://armenpress.am/arm/news/1011292.html

Torosyan vs anti-vaxxers

Healthcare Minister Torosyan said:

I'd like to remind people who oppose vaccination that this is what the world looks like when you have a disease without a vaccine. This is what happened back in the days when there was no measles vaccine. Millions of kids died. This is what will happen in the future if we don't take vaccines.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184877

hoax spreading about a US Doctor selling COVID

Social media users took a break from jerking off on Sunday to circulate misinformation about a US doctor Charles Lieber being arrested for manufacturing and selling COVID to China. In reality, Dr. was arrested for another reason.

From Armenian outlets, it was ArmDaily that spread the hoax.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/184896

https://www.indiatoday.in/fact-check/story/truth-coronavirus-conspiracy-theory-behind-arrest-harvard-professor-1663659-2020-04-05

https://web.archive.org/web/20200406074615/http://armdaily.am/?p=86877&l=am

live-streaming musicians

The govt agreed with several musicians to have them entertain the lockdown-audience by posting their performances on Pashinyan's Facebook page.

Tigran Hamasyan plays piano...

https://www.facebook.com/armgovernment/videos/576057269927618/UzpfSTEzNzgzNjgwNzkxNTAyNTA6MjYwMjMxNzY1MDA4ODYxNA/


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fw5hml/apr62020_todays_news_stories_tldr_pashinyans_qa/


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