In 2014 a number of employees of the Byureghavan boarding school for child care and protection disseminated an open letter on unhealthy moral and psychological atmosphere in the institution, violence against children, financial fraud, and abuse of the official position by the director.
“The publication somehow emphasized that the director’s illegal actions were under a certain patronage which the director does not conceal and openly states that her actions are backed by a high profile official at the Ministry of Labor and Social Issues,” Heriknaz Tigranyan said.
Mass media and activists rapidly responded to it, paid visits to the institution and interviewed the employees and children. A motion was filed under Article 179 of the RA Criminal Code. The ex director of the boarding school and other two persons were involved.
“The director is arrested and now our goal is to have the workers charged. For over a year we kept saying that the Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Issues Filaret Berikyan must be charged,” Tigran Hayrapetyan said.
The lawyer noted that he personally submitted an inquiry to the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and got an answer that Deputy Minister Filaret Berikyan coordinates the child welfare field.
“We have also filed an inquiry to find out if there is any disciplinary action or penalty against Berikyan. And in this case, too, the response was that there has been a disciplinary action,” Hayrapetyan said.
He referred to Article 315 of the Criminal Code which fixes a fine for cases when an official’s performance or improper performance of duties inflicted significant damage to the state interests. However, according to Clause 2, Article 315, the same act which caused the death or serious consequences shall be punished by imprisonment for a period of maximum 5 years.
Hayrapetyan and Tigranyan spoke on the agreement signed by the Labor Ministry and Byureghavan Boarding School. The agreement reads that the Government annually allocates 113 million drams to the school which must have 72 employees and 82 beneficiaries.
“The pre-trial investigation revealed that there are about 40 workers and 30 children. Mister Berikyan visited to participate in the meetings at the boarding school for years and he couldn’t but notice that the numbers of employees and children were low. Berikyan, however, denied several times that there could be illegal actions or any violation,” Hayrapetyan said.
“If children are 30, each should have got an allowance of 330 thousand drams but definitely it is not so. 55 million drams were stolen from the state budget,” Hayrapetyan said.
The next hearing is scheduled for June 19 (5p.m.) at the Kentron and Nork Marash Court of General Jurisdiction.
Lilit Arakelyan, Editor-Coordinator