The office of Armenia’s Prosecutor General recently announced that law enforcement authorities had uncovered a corruption case in the customs service and arrested the head of the Bavra checkpoint on the Armenian-Georgian border; within the Armenian customs bodies, however, there are other large scale, high-volume corruption schemes involving high-ranking officials, which have been left uninvestigated, Robert Nikoghosyan, former employee of the State Revenue Committee, said in a letter to Armenian prime minister Karen Karapetyan.
Along with the letter, which Nikoghosyan agreed to let us publish, the former tax inspector also sent the prime minister several articles on specific corruption cases, which were reported by the Armenian media in 2014 and 2015.
“Ten million pairs of shoes were imported to Armenia by two private entrepreneurs; at customs, each pair of shoes was estimated at only $1 and cleared according to this price.[…] Then it turned out that private entrepreneur Spartak Muradyan had imported clothing worth 42 million 780 thousand dollars. The comparison of different goods revealed that, for example, the prices for baby clothes in Turkey start from $2, upon reaching Armenia, the price turns to 0.54 cents and is cleared according to this price. Men’s shirts in Turkey start from $2, in Armenia they turn to 1.2 dollars, etc. Similarly, other goods are also declared at prices several times lower than the actual price.
“As a result, the state budget lost several million dollars in customs payments because taxes and customs duties were calculated according to under-declared prices.
“The aforementioned happened under the former head of the State Revenue Committee Gagik Khachatrian, who is the founder and the architect of the corrupt schemes that are still in effect in the customs service. No one has been held responsible for the aforementioned incidents,” Nikoghosyan’s letter says.