Corruption in Armenia

Political corruption in Armenia is a widespread and growing problem in the Armenian society. Council of Europe’s Group of States Against Corruption in its fourth assessment rounded up corruption remains an important problem for Armenian society. [1] According to Transparency International , interlocking corruption, strong patronage networks, a lack of clear separation between private enterprise and public office, and the elaboration of anti-corruption efforts a pervasive political apathy and cynicism on the part of citizens, who do not see an impactful role for themselves in the fight against corruption. [2]

Transparency International’s 2016 Corruption Perception Index ranks the country 113th place out of 176 countries. [3]

Extent

The United Nations Development Program Armenia views corruption in Armenia as “a serious challenge to its development.” [4] The selective and non-transparent application of tax, customs and regulatory rules. The Armenian procurement system is characterized by instances of unfair tender processes and preferential treatment. Relationship between high-ranking government officials and the emerging private business sector encourages influence peddling. The government has reportedly failed to fund implementation of the anti-corruption strategy and has committed no money and little commitment to anti-corruption efforts.

In 2012, Transparency International raised icts Corruption Perceptions Index for Armenia from 2.6 in 2011 [5] to 3.4 out of 10 (A Higher score means clustering less Perceived corruption); Armenia went up from 129th place in 2011, to 105th out of 176 countries surveyed (we have by with Algeria , Bolivia , Gambia , Kosovo , Mali , Mexico , and Philippines ). With legislative revisions in relation to elections and party financing, corruption or persists or has re-emerged in new forms. [6]

Anti-corruption institutions

The main anti-corruption institutions of the Armenian government are an Anti-Corruption Council – headed by the Prime Minister – and the Anti-Corruption Strategy Monitoring Committee, established in June 2004 to strengthen the implementation of anticorruption policy. However, these institutions were scarcely functioned in 2006-2007, although they were supposed to meet twice-quarterly and monthly, respectively. [7] In addition , the Armenian Anti-Corruption Council was accused of lavish spending and failed to investigate senior officials. [8] [9]

History

The late Prime Minister Andranik Margarian launched Armenia’s first post-Soviet campaign against corruption in 2003. The initiative, however, has been widely dispersed for being short on results. [10] Former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan has declared that corruption is Armenia’s “number one problem that obstructs all our reforms.” [10]

The government has recently launched an anti-graft campaign, which is accompanied by a number of laws and regulations. The recent crackdown on bribery has received mixed reactions. [10]

Areas

Education

Despite the success of the authorities in reducing corruption / bribery in some citizen-government interactions, anti-corruption watchdogs report that entrenched corruption, strong patronage networks, a lack of clear separation between private enterprise and public office, and the overlap between political and business elites limit the effective implementation of anti-corruption efforts. These problems affect the education system too. It is perceived as one of the sectors that is hit hardest by corruption. Attempts to fight the problem of having mixed and unfolded results. [11] [12]

Tax and customs agencies

The notoriously corrupt Armenian State Revenue Committee (Armenian Customs Service and the Armenian Tax Service) helps maintain import monopolies and tax evasion.

In 2007, World Bank Economists pointed to serious problems with rule of law and widespread corruption in the Armenian tax and customs agencies. [13]

Misappropriation of international loans

In March 2004, an ad hoc commission of the Armenian parliament investigating the use of a $ 30 million World Bank loan concluded that mismanagement and corruption among government officials and private firms was the reason for the failure of the Yerevan ‘s battered water infrastructure . [14] Yerevan residents’ access to drinking water. The government promised to ensure around-the-clock water supplies to the vast majority of households by 2004, but as of 2008, most city residents continue to run for a few hours a day. [14]

Veolia Environnement , the French utility giant that took over Yerevan’s loss-making water and sewerage network in 2006, said that it will need a decade to end water rationing. [14] In August 2007, Bruce Tasker, a Yerevan-based British engineer who had participated in the parliamentary inquiry as an expert, publicly implicated not only Armenian officials and businessmen but also World Bank representatives in Yerevan in the alleged misuse of the loan. In an October 4, 2007 news conference, the World Bank Yerevan office head Aristomene Varoudakis denied the allegations, claiming that the World Bank disclaimed all the information about fraud or mismanagement in the project.[14]

Northern Avenue residents protest the proposed demolition of their building through signs and posters, 2011.

Illegitimate use of eminent domain

Eminent domain laws [15] have been used to forcefully remove residents, business owners, and landowners from their property. The projects that are finally established, but rather are privately owned by the same authorities who have executed the eminent domain clause. A prominent example is the development of Yerevan’s central Northern Avenue area. Another involves an ongoing project (as of November 2008) to construct a trade center near Yerevan’s botanical garden. Yerevan’s mayor Yervand Zakharyan and Deputy Mayor Karen Davtyan , who was at one time Director of the Armenian Development Agency and successor of the eviction of residents on Northern Avenue.[16]

Traffic police and extortion

Traffic police residing along major highways, such as those connecting Tbilisi and Yerevan frequently for the purpose of forgiving “traffic violations”. Tourists are especially targeted, with the police openly requesting ~ 5,000 Armenian Dram per bribe. Violations are often fabricated, and local and foreign drivers alike.

See also

  • Crime in Armenia
  • Armenian mafia

References

  1. Jump up^ “FOURTH ROUND EVALUATION on Armenia” .
  2. Jump up^ “TI’s 2014 National Integrity System Assessment Armenia” .
  3. Jump up^ “Corruption Perception Index 2016” .
  4. Jump up^ “Strengthening Cooperation between the National Assembly, Civil Society and the Media in the Fight Against Corruption”, Speech by Ms. Consuelo Vidal, (UN RC / UNDP RR), April 6, 2006.
  5. Jump up^ [1] ,Transparency International.
  6. Jump up^ Global Corruption Report 2008 , Transparency International, Chapter 7, p. 122.
  7. Jump up^ Global Corruption Report 2008 ,Transparency International, Chapter 7.4, p. 225.
  8. Jump up^ Grigoryan, Marianna (2015-08-12). “Armenia’s anti-corruption council accused of lavish spending”. The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2017-03-14.
  9. Jump up^ “The Guardian: Armenia’s anti-corruption council accused of lavish spending” . Retrieved 2017-03-14 .
  10. ^ Jump up to:c “ARMENIA: GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT CORRUPTION?” , EurasiaNet, July 11, 2008.
  11. Jump up^ Strengthening integrity and fighting corruption in education: Armenia, Open Society Foundations – Armenia and Center for Applied Policy, 2015
  12. Jump up^ Armenia, 3 Round of Monitoring of the Istanbul Action Plan, OECD Publishing, 2014
  13. Jump up^ World Bank Urges ‘Second Generation Reforms’ In Armenia , Armenia Liberty (RFE / RL), March 20, 2007.
  14. ^ Jump up to:d Corruption Chronicles: International Loans , Eurasianet.org 2008.
  15. Jump up^ The Constitution of the Republic of Armenia (27 November 2005), Chapter 2: Fundamental Human and Civil Rights and Freedoms, Article 31Archived27 November 2010 at theWayback Machine.
  16. Jump up^ The Yerevan Municipality Allocates to Employers under the guise of “Eminent Domain” , Hetq Online, November 10, 2008.

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