2020 March 10

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Mar/10/2020 -- Daily News Summary -- Pashinyan blasts Constitutional Court chief for secret meetings with Kocharyan's lawyer -- Other major stories on Post-Revolution Changes, Anti-Corruption, Economy, Politics, Diaspora, Daily Life, 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.

Pashinyan's bombshell report about Kocharyan lawyer's secret visits to Constitutional Court

A few months ago the Parliament voted to condemn the CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan for his bias, alleged rule violations, etc. A petition was sent to CC for his fellow judges to hear the complaints against him.

The CC outright rejected the petition and didn't even consider discussing it, which raised Parliament's ire and accelerated the attempt to dissolve the body.


CC chief Hrayr Tovmasyan's godson is none other than Robert Kocharyan's lawyer Orbelyan. CC has the ability to release Kocharyan from jail if it claims a law he's charged with is unconstitutional.

Kocharyan's lawyer was accused of secretly meeting with Tovmasyan.


During today's speech in Meghri, Pashinyan said there is info that lawyer Orbelyan went to CC to meet Tovmasyan and steps were taken to cover it up.

Pashinyan said:

CC's chief of staff instructed the security not to record the entrance of lawyer Orbelyan, saying "let him in, it's boss's relative". This happened numerous times. We know this because an investigation was conducted and CC's security guards testified that this happened.

These secret meetings between Tovmasyan and Kocharyan's lawyer were happening while CC was hearing a law that affected Kocharyan (immunity stuff).

Chief Tovmasyan has a record of expressing personal opinion around March 1st (which Kocharyan is charged with). Tovmasyan was a HHK MP at the time of appointment. A judge should always recuse himself from cases connected to him. Tovmasyan didn't recuse himself.

This is one of the reasons why Parliament petitioned CC to apply sanctions against Tovmasyan, for violating rules. The CC rejected the petition and didn't even hear the complaints, which essentially took away Parliament's power granted to it by Constitution.

The CC exceeded its power, took away Parliament's power, and it's not even possible to challenge CC's decision. They are acting above the law... I need you to vote YES on April 5th.



Tag: ConstitutionalCourt HrayrTovmasyan LawyerOrbelyan

the YES campaign on a tour

A few hours earlier...

Pashinyan returned from the EU trip where he met various officials to discuss reforms. He uploaded a pic from the jet's pilot cabin. "I'm abusing my powers by live-streaming from the cabin," joked PM upon landing in Zvartnots.

Livestream https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182527


The PM, 1st lady and the QP party members then traveled to Agarak settlement to hold a rally to promote a YES vote on the April 5th referendum.

The leader of NO campaign, the former deputy Justice Minister HHK Ruben Melikyan, incorrectly accused the PM of breaking the law for using a helicopter to fly to the southern region.

VIDEO https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182534



Agarak residents surrounded Pashinyan and demanded an unplanned speech. The PM had no choice but to satisfy the calls for circlejerk, as the streets were shut by the residents. "You have essentially shut down the roads, this is symbolic... please attend Meghri rally for the main speech," said PM before giving a mini-speech.



Rally began in the southern Meghri city.

Pashinyan: Some former regime members say the govt plans to falsify referendum results. They don't get it, do they? I'd rather cut my both hands and the hands of any election fraudster. https://youtu.be/FObw9Ms40Kg

QP chief Lilith Makunts spoke about some of CC judges' biases and "life terms in office".

Pashinyan spoke about the Serj-Tovmasyan collusion and the 2018 Constitutional Court hijacking.

Education Minister: In democratic countries, the govt asks people's opinion while solving important problems. Let's repeat 2018... This will be a blow to those who used to sit in their cabinets and make decisions for you without caring about your opinion.

Hanrapetutyun Party chief Aram Sargsyan: the face of NO are Rob and Serj. This referendum is a continuation of what began earlier. They say the referendum is illegal. Where do you see such referendums being illegal, in Azerbaijan?

Yerkrapah Veterans chief Sasun Mikaelyan: we will have true freedom when the judicial system works properly. A YES vote will create a better future for our kids.






Kocharyan ally Mayrapetyan's health

The court earlier issued an arrest warrant for Samvel Mayrapetyan, the Kocharyan ally accused of acting as a middleman for a $7mln bribe. He went to EU for medical care and didn't return.

His lawyer says Mayraletyan will undergo a new surgery soon and that the absence is "legal and justified".

Q: it's been a year. He's promised to get a surgery and return.

Lawyer: his surgeries are "routine". More could be needed. We'll challenge the illegal decision that placed an arrest warrant against my client.

The investigators believe he's hiding under the pretense of medical care despite multiple warnings and time-frame to appear. They say Mayrapetyan can receive the care in Armenia.


Tushonka wants to visit Europe

Disgraced general Manvel Grigoryan has asked Healthcare Ministry and the court to let him travel to Europe for medical reasons.


Kocharyan' health / Missed the trial

Former president Robert Kocharyan was taken from jail to a hospital. Doctors found heart arrhythmia and 3rd stage high blood pressure (160-180 upper).

The judge postponed his trial to March 17th.


Would Kocharyan and his friends ever go to the doctor and detect their health problems it wasn't for their arrests? Double-edged sword? 🤔

it turns out the dude wasn't "healthy"

Yesterday, Pashinyan went to a village and promised an elderly lonely woman to help with housing, but got mad when a young man approached him with the same plea. "You're an able-bodied man like me," said agitated Pashinyan before leaving.

Now the man claims he has had a disability for many years. "I have back problems, I used to walk with aid. I got caught off guard during yesterday's conversation with PM and didn't have an opportunity to tell Pashinyan about my condition. I got shy and didn't respond."



border escalation continues

An Armenian contractor was killed today during a border shootout. The situation escalated a few weeks ago. Last week, Azeris did a failed infiltration attempt leaving 1 dead. They sustained 3 combat deaths since the escalation.


Matenadaran Restores Oldest Armenian Manuscript

This book was written in 981. It's been restored by the book-nerds at Matenadaran.

"The manuscript is written in bolorgir [bolola-gir?], a type of cursive which back then was considered a less prestigious writing style."

English article: https://www.civilnet.am/news/2020/03/10/Matenadaran-Restores-Oldest-Armenian-Manuscript/377957

dudz in hazmat suitz

Healthcare Ministry sent doctors in hazmat suits to quarantine 2 Yerevan visitors who allegedly weren't properly checked at Zvartnots airport upon arrival. Their COVID tests came negative.


no Italy for you

Civil Aviation has raised the alarm level and strictly advises against traveling to Italy, citing Italian state-wide quarantine which restricts leaving home unless it's for a family matter, basic necessities, work.

Italy has >9000 wounded, 436 killed, 700 recovered.


2 jets will arrive from Italy today. The passengers will be isolated from other airport passengers and checked. Update: 1st jet arrived without symptoms.





not many cancellations in hotels

When 31 Iranian-Armenians were quarantined in a 5-star former Tsakhkadzor hotel building, some patrons were concerned and canceled their bookings in nearby hotels.

"The panic was only on the first day," said Kotayk governor Romanos, "Now the bookings are back to normal. There were many patrons on March 8th. Tsakhkadzor mayor went to give flowers to the quarantined women."

The mayor later clarified that he transferred the flowers through workers in hazmat suits. (smart man, you'll survive this walrus attack)



prosecutors busted a property embezzlement

In what appears to be a routine way to embezzle property, prosecutors say the former Property Management officials illegally hired and colluded with a private property value assessor in 2017, which valued a certain property at 33mln.

The property was sold for 21mln. A recent assessment shows the property was, in reality, worth 48mln at the time. A felony case is launched against the officials.


Amulsar miner Lydian to sue Armenia / Workers in ECHR

Context: Amulsar hills have gold. Lydian miner got a mining permit under Serj administration. Accusations were made that the permit was given illegally after covering up environmental issues. Pashinyan administration launched a felony investigation and year-long environmental research, which found 16 issues but overall "safe for operations" if the issues are fixed. The environmental activists, however, didn't care, and continued to blockade the mining area, causing the miner to suspend its operations.


Lydian said:

We'll sue the govt to recover the financial losses done since 2018, and also for the unearned revenues that we were supposed to get during 10-15 years of projected mine operation. We have staff who lost their jobs. They are in a bad financial situation now.

So far 30 workers joined the lawsuit, but all 300 will join soon. These workers used to earn 600k/mo. The govt broke its promise of helping us to resume our operations. If the govt cannot secure the rights of our workers, we'll take it to the European Court for Human Rights.


where are the sequoia seeds?

Lasy year Yerevan mayor received sequoia seeds as a gift from LA. Municipality says they won't be planted in Yerevan because the trees are too tall, can fall, won't work in Yerevan climate. Sequoias can grow in Ijevan Park.


WTF lol mayor named a street after himself

Kotayk governor is suing Nor Geghi municipality to reverse a past decision that renamed Yerevanyan St. to Frontik Tevosyan St., named after the former mayor of the settlement. A local school was also named after him.

The Lower Court denied the lawsuit citing a law that requires the governor to act within 2 months in a situation like this. Governor Romanos escalated the case to Appeals Court. One of the arguments is that he wasn't the governor at the time due to political changes.

The former mayor wants to donate his property to the settlement, in exchange for preserving his name on the street. Governor objects it.



the barber trainer of Sevilla

Armenian national team's soccer coach Khashmanyan quit last month.

Soccer Federation technical chief Hines Melendes went to his home Spain to find a new coach. He convinced Joaquín Caparrós to take the job.

Caparros worked at Villareal, Athletic Bilbao, Sevilla, Osasuna, Granada, Levante, Mallorca, etc.

"I got an interesting offer to return to the pitch as a trainer. My goal is to help advance Armenia to 2022 World Cup," said Caparros who recently worked in backstage.

He'll coach Armenia until Nov-2021 and receive a relatively modest salary.

What if he agreed to move to Armenia so he can escape the raging coronavirus in Europe? 🤔





Compilation https://youtu.be/grZLxsCT6W0

new law results / compressed gas sales in Armenia

In 2019 the govt passed a consumer protection law to require gas stations to measure gas in KG instead of volume to avoid fraud. Some stations used to heat the gas before selling, so it would expand in volume and cost more.

The Economic Competition Committee (ECC) found that in 2019, 22% of the compressed natural gas was consumed by Yerevan drivers. Vayots Dzor only 2%. The average price was 98 Drams without indirect taxes.

The ECC audited gas stations within Yerevan and a 10km radius to see if they're competitive. 28 companies were asked to present 1Q18 vs 1Q19 data.

In some Yerevan districts, it was ~300 Drams, while elsewhere ~210. The prices were increased [on paper] after the law's application. Some stations charge more now but don't defraud. (technically it's the same price)

ECC found some possible price-fixing as well, after noticing similar prices across the board in some geo-locations. They're auditing the gas sales to see whether the prices are justified or "fixed". A gun was found in the jail cell where Jeffrey Epstein was suicided.


bad construction job wasn't paid

Last year Pashinyan threw a temper tantrum over some poor quality road repair and said the companies won't be paid from now on. Modern equipment was purchased to monitor asphalt quality.

Gegharkunik govt says in 2019 they didn't pay 100mln to 3 construction firms for violating norms, laying asphalt under the rain, and not using proper equipment. "We warned everyone ahead of time. This will be a lesson for others. Our province has the best results."


hundreds of applications to build slaughterhouses

The govt earlier passed a law to improve meat safety standards (could help exports) by requiring butchering be done at licensed clean butcheries with lab access that tests the animal's blood ahead of time. Farmers can send their cattle to these locations free of charge, but there weren't many locations across Armenia.

The Food Safety Committee says 272 petitions were received to build butcheries. 88 are under construction. 5 are mobile butcheries that will travel to villages to collect and butcher animals.

The govt subsidizes 7% of construction cost and issues an 8-year loan with 11% interest.

The govt is training >100 experts to handle licensed butchering and lab work.



more care for domestic violence victims

Labor Ministry plans to expand care for domestic violence victims in 2020. All provinces will have new shelters and aid facilities. They're working with an NGO. The latter used its resources to help 73 people since 2016: 66 females and 7 males.


new equipment for oncology

National Oncology Center has a new type of neurosurgery microscope Leica PROvido that's used in surgery rooms to get high definition imagery with a laser focus. This allows surgeons to see deeper and clearer.

Surgeon: this is going to make our job easier. It's better focused during a movement. It's going to let us detect and remove more tumor growths. We can work on blood vessels and nerves.

The Healthcare Ministry recently made all cancer surgery free. It'll apply to these types of surgeries as well.

National Oncology Center was recently removed from the list of institutes that was scheduled to be privatized. Pashinyan administration claimed the center is "too strategically important" thus should remain under govt control. An investment plan was created.


eco and gastro tourism expands

Pemzashen, Shirak has a new eco-gastro-agro-tourism guest hall to attract the lovers of nature, with the help of a UN program to develop such travel in rural Armenia. "Everything is homegrown and natural."

Tourists can make their apricot and apple vodka under guidance, make tonir BBQ, threaded cheese, learn to make mini statues with tuf stone, etc. The teachers are the local residents.

Similar projects exist in Gyumri and 2 other places.

Shirak government is working on coordinating the growing tourism. "Gyumri is going to have its first European flight in a month. The visitor should be informed of where to travel around Gyumri."

Pics https://armtimes.com/hy/article/182504

ICYM: Monday's important news


Link to original report and comments: https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fgjdyg/mar102020_daily_news_summary_pashinyan_blasts/

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