Freedom of Information Center of Armenia.

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The Gegharkunik marzpet is the top “money spender” among marzpets


Unfortunately, it is our taxpayer money.

Grisha Balasanyan

 The right to receive information is one of the fundamental human rights. However, not all citizens exercise that right today. For example, according to Article 27.1 of the RA Constitution, “everyone shall have the right to submit letters and recommendations to the authorized public and local self-government bodies for the protection of his/her private and public interests and the right to receive appropriate answers to them in a reasonable time.” Unfortunately, few citizens request information from officials; even if they do and get their request denied, they do not fight for their violated right. In accordance with the RA Constitution and the Freedom of Information Law, the Freedom of Information Center NGO has requested and received information from a number of marzpetarans. Following are some interesting pieces of information from decisions by the Ararat and Gegharkunik marzpets. For example, the Ararat Marzpet V. Hovakimyan made a decision on 21.10.2008 to provide two million drams worth of financial assistance to 55 socially vulnerable persons from the Ararat marz. Of course, the marzpet’s action and the provision of financial assistance from the state budget to socially vulnerable families is not objectionable in itself. However, one look at the amounts raises questions about how the marzpet’s subjective factor may have contributed to the process of allocation, especially given the fact that the purpose of the financial support remained unclear. According to this decision, one citizen received 13 thousand AMD, 23 persons received 10 thousand AMD each, 11 persons received 20 thousand AMD each, 1 person got 25 thousand AM, 5 persons – 30 thousand AMD, one person got 40 thousand AMD from the marzpet, 4 persons – 50 thousand AMD each, one person – 60 thousand AMD, one person – 72 thousand AMD, 5 persons – 100 thousand AMD, one person – 240 thousand AMD, and one person – 250 thousand AMD. The same amount was given to 20 citizens on 12.11.2008. “Semi-transparently,” one million AMD was allocated to 9 citizens in accordance with the marzpet’s decision No. 125 of 28.11.2008. The marzpet was generous once again in his decision of December 9 and allocated another three million AMD.

The Gegharkunik marzpet Nver Poghosyan provided 500 thousand AMD on October 2, 2008 for Teacher’s Day celebration, of which 400 thousand AMD were set aside for paying out bonuses to 20 teachers, while 100 thousand were AMD were set aside for organizing an event to mark Teacher’s Day. On October 24, the marzpet allocated 400 thousand AMD to the “Armenian Knight” TV show to ensure the participation of teams from the Gavar school No. 3, Vardenis school No. 3 and Sevan school No. 7. On December 3, Nver Poghosyan passed a decision No. 220-A to spend 82 thousand AMD on buying a TV set for the military unit stationed in the Martuni region of Nagorno Karabakh. We do not mean to differentiate between residents of the two Armenian republics, but it is worth mentioning that every year the Republic of Armenia’s state budget provides certain amount of assistance to Nagorno Karabakh, while the government of Karabakh is supposed to take care of the rest. The Armenian ministry of defense also provides support to Karabakh’s armed forces. The marzpet’s charity is inappropriate, because many communities in the marz have many problems that need to be addressed. If the marzpet was so concerned that one of the military units in Artsakh is lacking a TV set, he should have bought it using his own salary. In that case, we would think that the marzpet’s actions were really charitable. In any case, with his decision of December 11, the Gegharkunik marzpet allocated 55 thousand AMD for prepayment for Vivacell cards. However, it is not clear what cards these are and what was the marzpet’s connection with them.

Nver Poghosyan also paid (not from his pocket, of course) for the visit to the Gegharkunik marz of staff members of Nagorno Karabakh’s Martuni regional administration’s department of education and sports, and Martuni’s N. Stepanyan school No. 1 teachers and students. The marzpet allocated 150 thousand AMD for that purpose on December 11. Nver Poghosyan’s generosity reached its peak on December 16, when he decided to spend 320 thousand AMD on purchases and printing New Year and Christmas cards. This decision makes one think that the marzpet must have sent gold-plated Christmas cards to just about everyone in the marz. Wasn’t it possible to get more affordable cards to save state budget money, or did the marzpet’s signature have to appear only on very special cards ordered specifically for that purpose?

 Let us note one thing: the decisions we received from various officials make it clear that many of them worship women and pay special attention to their staff and local residents. We have already mentioned the “women-worshiping” decisions of the Hrazdan mayor Aram Danielyan, according to which he has spent thousands of drams from his community budget on flowers for his staff members. Now the Gegharkunik marzpet is standing out with his special cards. It is too bad that our officials display special affection only when it comes to spending money from community or state budget.


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