Armenia: would main corrupt officials be exposed?

Armenia: would main corrupt officials be exposed?

Not a single day goes without sensations in Armenia during the last month in the field of corruption exposures. The new government, which declared the fight against corruption as one of its most important priorities, is fighting this phenomenon that has corroded the state for many years. The last major exposes are connected with the name of Yerevan mayor Taron Margaryan. The latter, despite significant public pressure, is not yet going to abandon his post, possibly fearing of bringing to criminal responsibility among other things. Although it is obvious that an effect from such a position of the mayor can only be temporary.

The National Security Service has already revealed a number of official abuses and major thefts in the "Yerevan" foundation subordinated to the municipality. The Yerevan Foundation, established in 2007, is headed by the mayor of the capital, and the members of the council are his deputies and other officials of the mayoralty.

The total price of the mayor's real estate is in his mother Susanna Markaryan's and various proxies' name, according to experts (data was published in several editions and not refuted) [How Taron Margaryan robbed Yerevan: palaces and millions of Serzh Sargsyan's minion], exceeds $10 million. And considering the fact that the mayor's salary, who never was a businessman officially, is 575 thousand drams (1 US dollar = 482 drams.) Because of the revealed huge violations, the new authorities were forced to stop the activities of the cultural, scientific, educational fund 'Luys' (translated from Armenian - light), whose main task was to help talented young people to get education in the best world universities. It turned out that over the last 5 years, the 'Luys' foundation has allocated 3.4 billion drams from its budget (about $7 million dollars) to various organizations and programs, which were not found in any of the fund's financial reports.

Only now the general public became aware of the results of the inspection carried out in 2017 in the Ministry of Culture by the inspection of the Ministry of Finance's financial and budgetary control. The inspection revealed violations in the Ministry of Culture and its five subordinate departments for a total of 521.3 million drams (more than $1 million). According to the report, 504.6 million of the recorded violations amounting to 521.3 million drams are to be returned to the state budget.

During the last month, corruption schemes have been revealed that have been in effect for years on the Public Television of Armenia, the Ministry of Science and Education, the Yerevan City Hall, customs, etc. According to David Sanasaryan, the head of the State Control Service, inspections are planned in all the structures, primarily in the Ministry of Defense.

Obviously, all these exposures are aimed at improving the atmosphere in the society, and most importantly, at improving and correcting the economic situation that has been swampy for many years. The destruction of the corrupt schemes that existed for many years will create really equal conditions in business.

"Today it is difficult to say whether these people will be able to work within the law, because they became entrepreneurs not due to their intellect, business thinking, abilities and innovations, but due to close relations with the authorities," the head of the economic commission of the Armenian National Congress party, Vahagn Khachatryan, said.

Some experts believe that it is necessary to increase and tighten anti-corruption measures, since the level of corruption and shadow economy is much higher than the expert circles and political forces imagined. Tightening the struggle against it is also necessary because corruption in the country is of systemic nature.

Analysts are surprised that the largest corrupt officials, most of whom are representatives of the highest echelon of the former government, have been able to avoid anti-corruption exposures at the moment.

It is possible that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, being well aware of opportunities of the most prominent representatives of the clan-oligarchic regime and the potential risks associated with their exposure, is trying to be well prepared for this process.

Maybe that's why the law enforcement bodies are actively engaged in the search for weapons and ammunition, and consequently, the neutralization of various groups, including both representatives of the former ruling regime and criminal authorities.