2020 March 11

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Anti-Corruption Daily

Mar/11/2020 --- Daily News Collection --- Pashinyan about Serj's "$42mln weapon waste" -- Rob's judge releases Rob's media friend -- Embezzlement during 2016 Pope visit --- Other major stories on Anti-Corruption, Post-Revolution Changes, 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.

Anti-Pashinyan judge releases Kocharyan's media friend Tavadyan from jail

The Appeals Court satisfied 5th Channel media outlet owner Tavadyan's petition to overthrow Lower Court's decision that jailed him.

Tavadyan is charged with financing a group whose member was caught on video bribing March 1st victims.

The Appeals judge didn't find "reasonable suspicions" against Tavadyan. This means the judge believes there shouldn't have been a case against Tavadyan, to begin with. The full verdict isn't available yet. (this doesn't necessarily mean the case is completely dropped against him.)


The judge was Alexander Azaryan, a Kocharyan appointee with a record of anti-Pashinyan rhetoric and releasing Kocharyan from jail in the past. He also has a record of jailing many March 1st, 2008 protesters.

Azaryan's prior affiliations were one of the reasons why the prosecutors asked him to recuse himself from this March 1st bribery case.

Yesterday Azaryan refused to recuse himself. The prosecutors accused him of being biased and deciding not to recuse himself "in a matter seconds without properly addressing prosecutors' concerns".

Azaryan earlier called QP Parliamentary committee members "children", and said Pashinyan should resign if they want him (Azaryan) to resign.

https://www.armtimes.com/hy/article/182671 https://www.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fg03az/mar92020_your_daily_news_summarized_todays_major/


Pashinyan criticizes Serj for "stolen army resources" during referendum rally

Pashinyan and QP members continue their travel across Armenia to urge voters to vote YES on April 5th referendum.

In Shinuhayr settlement, the PM gave a speech during which he accused the former regime of embezzling army resources while claiming to be Artsakh defenders.

"When I became PM and was briefed on the army conditions and the old weapons used by our soldiers, I just wanted to escape the room because of how disastrous it was," said PM while listing the recent modernization changes.

"You should return the stolen voluntarily. You won't be able to hide the stolen in Europe. Bring back every last penny and invest it in the army," urged PM to former administrations' members while mentioning Manvel Grigoryan's army theft story.

"When I volunteered on the border in [[April War}Apr-2016]], I was given a 1973 rifle. Today the soldiers have weapons fresh out of the factory, great food, etc." said PM.

"Serzh spent $42mln on useless weapons that turned out to be dysfunctional. It's useless. It's a metal scrap. Serzh should answer for this. There is no other option. You will return the stolen."


Ministry's embezzlement during Pope's 2016 visit

Education & Finance Ministries, radio firms, and others cooperated with the prosecutors to bust a 2016 waste and/or embezzlement. The report says:

On Jun-9-2016 the govt made a secret decision to donate 576mln to Firms [part of this expenditure was legit]. The Culture Minister [Hasmik Poghosyan] signed to finalize the secret order.

Although the agreement stated that the Firm didn't have to pay taxes, the Minister signed another secret order to pay extra 60mln to aid with "paying taxes".

The procedure of selecting and paying the Firm to do some work for govt was done in violations of law. No checks, no accountability.

Some services provided by Firm were significantly more expensive than the market value. Some property was purchased for god knows what reason, and it's unclear what purpose it served later.

171mln worth agreements were signed with 3 Ukrainian companies to install TV stations to cover the news. Meanwhile, a Russian company offered the same for 2x cheaper.

16.3mln worth carpet, umbrellas, and other stuff were purchased but it's unclear where they went and how they were used, or by whom.

22mln spent on barriers that weren't regulated in the contract.

6mln was given to two translator firms. It turns out both were registered in the same address and didn't have employees listed in their papers.

A contract was signed with a car company to use 5 cars from their fleet. Records show the firm was bogus and didn't have registered drivers.

A firm was hired to handle financing, expenses, consulting. Records show these expenses were unrelated to the 2016 Pope's visit.

The Culture Minister didn't properly inform the govt on why all these expenses were needed. A felony case is launched.

End of the report.

Records show is was Pope Francis who visited Yerevan between June 17-28.

"I ask you to pray for me, who in a few days will go as a pilgrim to an eastern land, Armenia, the first among the Nations to receive the Gospel of Jesus," said Francis while some gyamsh at Ministry was stealing your money.



Tag: CultureMinistry MinistryEmbezzlement

coronavirus cases reach 4 in Armenia

3 new COVID tests came positive today. 1 is Italian, 2 are Armenian. They all came from Italy. The govt is identifying people who had physical contact with them. The group is expected to be small.

7 of the 156 Armenians who returned from Italy have high temp.

Upon entering Armenia, these visitors were identified, given contact cards by the Healthcare Ministry, received routine calls from clinics, and were remotely monitored for symptoms. This practice will be done on all visitors beginning today.

"As for why the flights from Italy aren't stopped it's because we'd have to shut flights from entire Europe to make a difference. Some airline firms voluntarily suspended their flights."

The govt is helping Armenians to return from Italy.

Georgia recorded 8 new cases, bringing the total to 23. Turkey recorded 1st case. Azerbaijan has 15. WHO delacred COVID a "pandemic".






owned up after all / Pashinyan apologizes to the man

Last weekend PM went to a village where an elderly woman asked for housing aid. A young man, who at first looked able-bodied, also asked for housing aid, which raised PM's ire who complained about able-bodied men asking for help.

The next day it turned out the man had health issues. "I didn't have a chance to tell that to PM, I was shy," said the man.

Today the QP MP Sipan Pashinyan (PM's relative) visited the man "with good news". The Lori governor plans to provide aid to his family. https://www.facebook.com/lurer.1tv/videos/237036417464342/


Pashinyan responded today, "I made two mistakes: assuming the person's health condition and thinking I was smart enough to accurately assess the person's health condition. I want to apologize to Mekhak. I hope the aid he receives will allow future development."

The PM also spoke about the importance of providing the type of aid that's not one-time, but rather meant to develop the person and make them less reliant on govt.

He spoke about the recent new law that subsidizes cattle purchases and veterinary classes for farmers.



NSS busted a murder-for-hire

A Yerevan resident (Organizer) promised a friend (Friend1) $190,000 and gave him a gun to assassinate a Victim. $1000 pocket change for preparations.

Friend1 tracked the Victim and shot him in June-2014, striking the fingers. The Organizer wasn't satisfied and asked the Friend1 to go finish him off.

In a more recent incident, the Organizer also wanted 5 others dead. He recruited the second Friend2.

Organizer rented an apartment and gave a car to Friend2 to help organize the killings.

Meanwhile, the Organizer used a fake Russian passport to leave Armenia to somewhere where he could organize the coverup and burial of the Victims. He got caught by NSS during his trip.

The NSS found bullets and evidence in the rented apartment in 2020. The Friend1 and Freind2 are also arrested. A felony case is launched.



update: referendum bribery report

Earlier a social media user reported seeing how referendum's NO campaign allegedly distributed bribes to elderly voters to vote NO. A felony investigation was launched. The NO campaign says the prosecutors have just informed them that the report was false.


small and medium business stats

"Ameria" CJSC conducted a survey of 729 small/medium businesses in the biggest 5 cities in 2019.

The panel of experts had disagreements on the definition of a small and medium business. Nonetheless, here are their results:

93.8% micro, 5.1% small, 1% medium.

Businesses reported not a big but noticeable improvement in 2019 vs 2018. The real estate businesses were particularly happy due to rising prices.

Importing businesses said things got worse, while exporters said things got better.

The experts found that Armenian businesses aren't keen on using the latest technologies, and instead rely on maximizing the use of existing tech.

Armenian businesses ranked 3rd from top in the world when it comes to claiming they are "innovative", while Armenia is 4th from the bottom when it comes to businesses saying they want to "change the world". In other words, Armenians just want to make money and not change the world.

"To succeed, the firms need to change their mindset because firms whose goal is just to make money usually don't succeed. Our firms need to have a mission," said Ameria's chief surveyor.

The group found that 7-9% of the population recently provided money to another person to start a business. "A remarkable indicator which ranked Armenia 14th in the world. That means we still trust the friend and neighbor."



DataArt tech firm's work in Armenia

Global software firm DataArt opened a branch in Armenia in 2019. Today the reps visited Armenia and met High Tech Minister Arshakyan. The latter thanked them for the new jobs and projects.

"We expected things to be good in Armenia, but we didn't expect it to be this good. The growth was above expectations," said DataArt Executive Director Alexei Miller while praising Armenian engineers and the business environment in Armenia.

They discussed implementing tech in the finance world. DataArts expressed a desire to act as a bridge between Armenian talent and US tech firms.



Pashinyan's illegal regime

"Armenian Eagles - United Armenia" wannabe "neo-nazi" party is upset over the referendum and wants you to vote NO to reject the "illegal Pashinyan regime which came to power on false promises of fighting against corruption".

The party's vice president (also editor of haynews website) was arrested in Dec-2018 during a videotaped bribery transaction. The alleged bribery was over organizing machinations in the army.

The party prides itself on being the defenders of the army, Christianity, and statehood.




PM urges supporters not to curse opposition

Pashinyan urged everyone, including his supporters, not to respond to bad language and provocations, even if it makes them angry. "Keep your anger and express it with the ballot."


Pashinyan about Amulsar mining / Meets locals

The PM stopped by at Royarq, where the majority support gold mining on Amulsar hills. "Please resume the operations. It'll help us financially and reduce emigration," said a local.

"I'm simultaneously in favor and against running the mine because on one hand, we would get $, on the other hand, there is not enough evidence that if the mine operated right now the risks would be manageable. Either way, no matter what you build and run, it will always cause some level of damage to nature, but the idea is to minimize the damage and make it controllable," said Pashinyan.


Turkish org in USA recognizes the Armenian Genocide

US-based Turkish community-driven organization "Multicultural Mosaic Foundation" has voted to recognize the Armenian Genocide.

The 20-member board worked 3 years around the issue and finally held a vote after consulting historians, experts, and... OPENING THE ARCHIVESTM !!!1111111!!!!!!!1!1!1!111 .

Turkish govt has blamed US-based boogieman Fatullah Gulen for being behind it. The organization says it "derives its inspiration from the Turkish Muslim religious leader Fethullah Gulen".



food package for school kids to expand

Russia will provide an extra $2mln aid as part of a UN initiative that helps to subsidize high-quality food for elementary school kids. The overall expenditure will go from $3mln to $5mln.

In 2019 there were 412 schools and 50,000 kids in several provinces.

Greenhouses will be built to provide year-round food to kids and jobs to locals. Education Ministry plans to expand it to all of Armenia.


Update: people who were lured to attend a meeting

Earlier we learned that people were complaining about someone, claiming to be from SHANT TV, luring people to attend an "opposition" meeting in exchange for money.

Although there is no denial about the deceptive luring, SHANT TV denies being behind it. The recruiter also says she isn't from SHANT TV.


thousands to get Armenian citizenship

1st deputy PM Avinyan has asked President Sarkissian to issue citizenship to 1698 people.

"The fact that so many people want to become Armenian citizens and part of our statehood, is inspiring and makes us want to work harder," said Avinyan.


all high schools will have natural sciences labs

Education Ministry will soon begin to send equipment to make sure all high schools have labs for physics, chemistry, biology, and geography.

"We'll combine theory with practice," said one teacher. Many schools already have labs.


domestic violence shelters open

Yesterday the Labor Ministry said they'll open new centers across Armenia to help domestic violence victims.

Several offices have already opened. They provide free legal services, mental health counseling, shelter. "This will fill the void that is present in the way police handle domestic violence against children."


Vanadzor to have TUMO

TUMO tech education center met Lori governor to discuss a new branch in Vanadzor city, a possible location, transporting nearby provincial kids to the new location, financing.

"We'll help with the rest but TUMO has to find a building on its own because the local govt doesn't have anything to offer due to mass post-independence privatizations at ridiculous prices," said Lori Governor Andrey.


Forbes includes Gyumri to top-17 list

Forbes magazine: Autumn is a great time to visit Armenia, especially Gyumri. The city, from now on, won't be remembered by the 1988 earthquake, and instead by its streets, interesting sights, tasty cuisine, welcoming locals.

Visit the link for the full review...

https://www.forbes.com/sites/breannawilson/2020/03/10/the-17-most-beautiful-places-to-travel-to-in-spring/#67a2579b718b (grazie Breanna Wilson)


Link to original report and comments: https://old.reddit.com/r/armenia/comments/fh34j8/mar112020_daily_news_collection_pashinyan_about/

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