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Armenia’s Defense Industry Highly Corrupted, Expert Claims

According to Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index for 2015, Armenia is among the countries with the highest levels of public sector corruption. Defense industry corruption, in particular, negatively affects not only the country's economy, but also “can cost hundreds of lives, as evidenced by the four-day war in the beginning of April,” Sona Ayvazyan, the deputy head of Armenia's Transparency International anti-corruption center, said at a press conference Monday.

“Our research has shown that budget report observations conducted by National Assembly's Standing Committee on Defense, National Security and Internal Affairs are not thorough enough. We've found that the Committee tends to approve any and all budget proposal it is presented with. Hence the Ministry of Defense receiving however much money they ask for, without proper consideration. That is, the Ministry is free to utilize its own resources, and there's no information on internal audit activity,” Ayvazyan stated.

She added that Armenia's Defense Ministry holds shares in 11 companies; however, there are no records of these companies' revenues and expenses, nor is it known who their owners are, which raises the risks for money laundering.

Speaking about the use of military personnel during elections, Ayvazyan noted that the servicemen of Armenia's Armed Forces do not have access to unbiased information and propaganda and they therefore follow commanders' orders “when making their so-called choice.”