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Opposition MPs Call for Tougher Anti-Corruption Measures

At an extraordinary parliamentary sitting today, several opposition lawmakers suggested that Armenia's National Assembly should adopt new legal measures directed towards combating corruption. Levon Zurabyan, the leader of the opposition Armenian National Congress party parliamentary faction, namely, urged NA speaker Galust Sahakyan to personally take action and organize hearings to discuss the issue, to which Sahakyan responded by saying: “Let's wait and see what the Government does first, shall me?”

ANC faction member Nikol Pashinyan, for his part, stated that at the moment there were two specific corruption cases needed to be addressed by the parliament; first, “Arazg” LLC director Ararat Tumanyan, who had been importing diesel fuel to Armenia for years, reported recently that he had failed in his latest attempt “due to bogus obstacles created by officials.”

“[According to Tumanyan], the criteria for importing diesel fuel to Armenia have been changed in such a way that one can no loner import diesel fuel that has not been produced in Russia. If this is true, then the Government has basically enforced certain restrictions to create a monopoly for Russian Rosneft, which is not only illogical, but also contrary to prime minister [Karen Karapetyan’s] latest statements. I think that the National Assembly should request clarification [from competent authorities],” Pashinyan said. 

Note, speaking to a group of reporters last week, Karen Karapetyan announced that everyone was from now on free to import whatever they wanted to Armenia; he went on to urge people to contact him personally, should they face any obstacles in their attempts.

The second issue that the National Assembly needed to discuss, Pashinyan continued, were the allegations raised by Vahan Badasyan, a former MP of the Nagorno-Karabakh parliament. Early last week, Badasyan wrote an open letter to PM Karapetyan on Facebook, claiming that “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.”