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PM Will Not Respond to Corruption Allegations Against Armenian Army Chief, Veteran Says

Haykakan Zhamanak newspaper spoke to Vahan Badasyan, a former MP of the Nagorno-Karabakh parliament and a NKR war veteran, about the reaction of officials to his corruption allegations against the newly-appointed Chief of the General Staff of Armenia's Armed Forces Movses Hakobyan. 

Last week, Badasyan wrote an open letter to Armenian PM Karen Karapetyan on Facebook, claiming that during his tenure as the head of the Armenian Defense Ministry's department of logistics, 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.”

Defense Ministry spokesperson Artsun Hovhannisyan was quick to deny this, writing also on Facebook that the business mentioned by Badasyan had no connection to Hakobyan.

– Mr. Badasyan, according to the defense ministry spokesperson's response, Sipan company is not related to General Movses Hakobyan. Furthermore, [Hovhannisyan] insisted that [the above-mentioned] company provides only a small part of [the army’s bread requirement]. 

-Artsrun Hovhannisyan is blatantly lying. How does Movses Hakobyan have no links to Sipan when his brother is the company's director? 

– What are the other companies that provide bread to the army?

– There's also Avangard company, whose owner also has a rank of a General but is actually a deserter known as Gastik. The company belonging to the chief of general staff of Nagorno-Karabakh's defense army is also a supplier, as well as that owned by the brother of former deputy defense minister Alik Mirzabekyan. As you can see, the companies engaged in bread-baking for the army belong solely to generals. Do you think that's a coincidence? Besides, they have won the tender by offering 173 drams per kilogram of wheat, while the market price of wheat is 90 drams.

– Have you received a response from [prime minister] Karen Karapetyan?

– No, there's been no response.

– Do you expect one?

– No, I don't; I don't believe he intends to. He has been appointed [prime minister] by [Armenian president] Serzh Sargsyan to fulfill his every whim. Doesn’t matter that he has proposed to get rid of odious people such as [former governor of Syunik Surik Khachatryan widely known as] Liska, [former minister of transport and communication] Gagik Beglaryan, and [finance minister] Gagik Khachatryan․ He has done this to help the common cause -to ensure that [the ruling Republican Party] wins in the 2017 [parliamentary] elections. Of course, they can do so by rigging [the results], but that’s not enough any more. They have nearly emptied the state treasury, and are now going against each other. So they have appointed a [prime minister] who doesn't have a bad past; and this person, even if he has a desire to get rid of the bad system, will not be allowed to do so.

– Have law enforcement authorities shown any interest in your statements?

– I don't want us to turn every vicious phenomenon in our army into a subject of speculation. The army is the only source of our safety; it protects us from Turkey and Azerbaijan.

– But it also serves the interests of the army…

– Yes, but we should try to discuss these issues locally. Only after this option fails should we make the issues public.