April 13-19. Real Owners of Mines will be Revealed in Armenia

All mining companies of the Republic of Armenia should be ready to reveal information about their real owners. Still last week RA NA Standing Committee on Economic Affairs approved the government’s draft law on Revealing Real Owners of Metallic Mining Companies in Armenia. According to this draft, names of physical entities, and not legal ones, should be noted in the declaration. The only exception are state, community and international companies.

Such a process is required by the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI). Armenia is an EITI candidate country. To become a full member, Armenia will need to meet the requirements of the EITI Standards. Regulation is needed as mining companies of Armenia are mostly closed joint-stock companies, so their data is not available to the public. After the adoption of the law, these data will be open and available, which will enable to establish public control over the field. In case of fraudulent data, sanctions are to be used – first warning, and if warning is not eliminated, the company’s activity will be suspended up to 120 days.

News form the RA Parliament 

On April 16, the regular four-day sittings of NA launched in the atmosphere of hot debates. NA adopted the amendments to the RA Law on “The Structure and Functioning of the Government” at the first reading with 71 MPs voting in favour and 40 against. MPs of “Prosperous Armenia” and “Bright Armenia” opposition parties voted against the amendments. According to the amendments number of ministries will reduce from 17 to 12, and Post of High Commissioner for Diaspora Affairs will be created in the Office of the Prime Minister.

A draft law package related to Penitentiary Institutions of RA also passed the first parliamentary reading. The draft law regulates issues of long-term visits of detainees, transfer from one penitentiary institution to another one, giving identification cards to detainees and so on.

“Ararat Cement” Employees notified

On April 15, employees of “Ararat Cement” CJSC in the town of Ararat blocked the road leading to the factory and refused to take their notifications of being laid off. Meanwhile, on April 12 Parliament’s Standing Committee on Economic Affairs approved that for each tone of imported cement a customs fee of 22,000 AMD is established. Before this, customs duty of 100,000 AMD controlling price was used for customs clearance, taxes of which made 32,000 AMD. But the company insists that the customs fee is established for the import of cement and not for cement producing clinker. The management of  clinker producing “Ararat Cement” company taking into account this fact, grounded that it would reduce the company’s competitiveness in the market and decided to dismiss the employees. Employees, however, demand cancelling of the notifications and keeping their jobs.

Accusation against Head of State Control Service (SCS)

According to the report of National Security Service criminal case initiated against head of State Control Service of RA Davit Sanasaryan. He is charged with not carrying out his duties and abusing official powers against the interests of SCS for the benefits of group interests. Written undertaking not to leave the place was applied against him as measure of restraint. A decision was made to temporarily suspend Davit Sanasaryan office. Prime Minister Pashinyan approved the decision.

This accusation against this state official differs from the cases against former or current officials in the last months by the fact that in this case, accusation initiated against the person who was one of the most active participants in the velvet revolution in spring 2018.

Sanasaryan does not accept the accusations. He wrote on his Facebook page:

“The struggle continues for the sake of new Armenia, do not give up, do not get frustrated. It is essential that the basis of our actions is merely love towards our homeland. We must always keep in mind that the path of struggle is thorny and stony, and the final victory is never easy. Everything about me is fake…”

In February of this year, three employees of SCS were detained on charges of illegal interference in the public procurement process.

Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan made an agreement

On April 15 at the initiative of Russian side trilateral meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Elmar Mammadyarov and Sergei Lavrov was held in Moscow with the participation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and Andrzej Kasprzyk, the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairperson-in-Office. Proceeding the meeting, the sides announced that Ministers agreed to take measures, on a mutual basis, to allow families to have access to their relatives held in custody in the respective detention centers of the parties. The Ministers expressed their willingness to start concrete work on establishing contacts between people, including through mutual visits of media representatives.

Accusation against Mihran Poghosyan

On April 18, the representatives of RA National Security Service (SIS) broke into the house of former MP, former head of the Judicial Acts Compulsory Enforcement Service, Major General and businessman  Mihran Poghosyan and carried out a search there. This is stated in the message of Poghosyan’s office.

On April 15, accusation launched against Mihran Poghosyan, who is accused of abuse of power and theft of property on a large scale, as a result of which property damage in  especially large amounts was caused. According to the report of SIS, Poghosyan robbed 44 million AMD(about US$90 000) from the state budget.

As stated in the report of Poghosyan’s office, the representatives of NSS conducted a search in Poghosyan’s former office, too. The office of Mihran Poghosyan regards the actions as “manifestation of political  persecution”. There was no information about Poghosyan’s location, but on April 22 it was reported that he was found in the Republic of Karelia, federal subject of Russia and will be extradited to the Republic of Armenia.

Government decisions – new garbage trucks, compensation to businessmen

The Government made a decision to authorize the Yerevan Town Hall to purchase garbage trucks from one entity for solving the  garbage collection problems. The reason for making such a decision is that “Sanitek” LLC  appealed Yerevan Town Hall purchasing process of 24 garbage trucks. As a result, the case is in the proceedings of Court of General Jurisdiction and terms of verdict are not clear yet. Hence, garbage collection of Yerevan deteriorated and is in irregular situation.

According to another decision, Government will make a 50% discount on the fees of irrigation water used in Meghri Region of Armenia in 2018. The government approved a plan of  50% governmental compensation to businessmen making investments on “smart cattle-breeding facilities” and 70% compensation to the citizens who got disabled while carrying out their military service duties and those who live at the border and get social assistance.

“Citizen’s Day” 

At the Government sitting on April 18, it was decided to allocate 124 million AMD for organizing celebrations on the Citizen’s Day. Still last week parliament passed the government-drafted bill proposing to declare the last Saturday of April as Citizen’s Day in the country.

ECHR respond  to Manvel Grigoryan’s attorneys

European Court of Human Rights rejected the request of General Manvel Grigoryan’s attorneys. Grigoryan’s attorneys had applied to the ECHR requesting for an interim measure obliging the Armenian Government to immediately transfer Manvel Grigoryan to a civilian hospital, as well as to be transported to a medical institution in France indicated by Manvel Grigoryan for treatment.

Manvel Grigoryan, charged with illegally gaining and keeping weapons and ammunition, organizing plunder of property through extortion, is still detained. According to the attorneys, he is in a severe condition. The preliminary investigation of the criminal case is over. The case is sent to the Court, but the date of the Court Session is not determined yet.

Ampop Media

Translated by Mary Grigoryan 

For Armenian original CLICK HERE

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First Published: 22/04/2019