33. FOICA vs. "SME Investments" UCO CJSC
On November 11, 2011, the "Ankakh" weekly sent an information request to the "SME Investments" UCO CJSC asking to provide information on individuals and organisations funded by the UCO and information on funding amount. The "SME Investments" UCO CJSC denied to provide the requested information, mentioing, that it is subject to banking secrecy. It should be noted that the requested information refer to financing provided from the state funds. Thus, the "Ankakh" weekly turned to The Freedom of Information Center.
To help the "Ankakh" weekly to receive the needed information, on November 22, 2011, the FOICA sent an information request to the "SME Investments" UCO CJSC mentioning that the requested information refer to the state funds and asking to provide the following information:
1. How many individuals and organisations were funded by the "SME Investments" UCO CJSC from the state funds?
2. Which are that l individuals and organisations (please, enter the full names)?
3. What funding was provided to each individual and organization?
The UCO answered to the FOICA's request partially. In addition, the UCO made reference to trade secret (banking secrecy), without mentioning the specific provision of law, according to which the requested information is considered confidential.
Thus, on December 23, 2011, the Freedom of Information Center of Armenia applied to the Court of the General Competence of Center and Nork-Marash administrative districts asking to oblige the"SME Investments" UCO CJSC to provide the requested information and to impose an administrative fine of 50,000 AMD on the director of the credit organisation.
The first court hearing tooke place on February 27, 2012, at 15:00, in the Court of the General Competence of Center and Nork-Marash administrative districts. During the preliminary court hearing the representative of the Freedom of Information Center insisted the claim, and the case went to trial phase. Тhe next court hearing took place on March 2, 2012, when the trial phase ended. The decision of the Court was announced on March 15, 2012 by which the Court rejected the FOICA's claim finding that the requested information contains commercial secret therefore is not a subject for reveal.