During his tenure as the head of the Armenian Defense Ministry's department of logistics, the newly-appointed Chief of the General Staff of Armenia's Armed Forces Movses Hakobyan abused his official position, violated the law on public procurement, and signed a wheat procurement contract between his own company and the Ministry of Defense at prices far above market level, appropriating tens of millions of drams from the military budget as a result, according to an open letter from Vahan Badasyan, a former MP of the Nagorno-Karabakh parliament, to Armenia's prime minister Karen Karapetyan posted on Facebook earlier this week. The former lawmaker called on the Armenian prime minister to clarify whether he thought Hakobyan had thereby committed corruption.
Below is Armtimes.com's interview with Vahan Badasyan:
– Mr. Badasyan, are you personally responsible for the discovery of the claims presented in your Facebook post?
– It's not a discovery; these are facts which are known to everyone working in this field. This is not the only abuse of power on Movses Hakobyan's part; his entourage and he are responsible for numerous abuses in a multitude of procurement agreements.
– What is the name of Hakobyan's company that supplies wheat to the Ministry of Defense?
– It's called Sipan; Hakobyan is the company's founder, and his brother is the manager. Everybody knows that [Movses Hakobyan] bakes bread and supplies it to a number of military units [in NKR]. His company charges the army prices significantly above the market average, does not pay taxes, supplies law-quality flour, then takes this very flour and bakes the bread. Last year, for instance, the market price of wheat was 120 drams; his company and the ministry, however, had agreed on more than 1000 tonnes of wheat for 150 drams per kilogram. Consequently, he added 30 million drams to his bank account from this deal alone.
– Why did you decide to finally speak out?
– I'm doing this becuase of the prime minister. His statement regarding the acceptability of [mothers passing on headmasters’ positions to their daughters in schools] is not just ridiculous, but also infuriating. One would think that soldiers getting killed on the front-line, as well as our economic shortcomings, were because of mothers and daughters working together at the same school. This is how the newly-appointed prime minister, in whom the people put their trust, thinks. The people give their last money to the army, while the army is throwing this money to the wind for the enrichment of high-ranking generals.
Everyone is NKR knows that Movses Hakobyan engages in bread-making and supplies it to military units. Do you think this is normal? Is he a bread-maker or a general? He is not a general; he knows nothing about the army, how to organize military operations or how to prevent them. I'm saying this as a professional serviceman. Meanwhile, he is really proficient at embezzlement. Did you know, for example, that he built a house on the military budget, sold this house to the army for 1 million 200 thousand drams, and subsequently received this house as a gift from the army. This information alone is enough [for law-enforcement authorities] to initiate a criminal investigation and arrest [Armenian president] Serzh Sargsyan, [former minister of defense] Seyran Ohanyan, and Movses Hakobyan.
– Do you think state authorities are aware of this? Why don't they take action?
– Not only do they know about this, but I'm convinced that Movses Hakobyan would not have been able to do anything without Sargsyan's and Ohanyan's knowledge. It's a fact: everyone knows that the supply of bread is on him. I'm just saying this so that the people do not hold out much hope that the new prime minister or the current government [will change anything].
– Don't you believe that Karen Karapetyan will be able to make sure that Movses Hakobyan and others who have supposedly committed abuses of power are held responsible for their actions?
– No, I don't. On the contrary, state authorities tend to breed the likes of [Hakobyan].