“Struggle against Corruption: Reality or Imitation?”
Varujan Hoktanyan, Head of Transparency International Anti-Corruption Center, Anahit Bakhshyan, Member of “Heritage” Party, Member of “Barev Yerevan” Faction of Yerevan Council, Karen Zadoyan, President of Armenian Association of Lawyers, Coordinator of Anti-Corruption Coalition Secretary of Armenian Civil Society Organizations and Economist Hayk Gevorgyan participated in the discussion on “Struggle against Corruption: Reality or Imitation?” organized by Media Center at “A1+” pavilion.

Referring to the statements on anti-corruption made by the Government in May, the speakers said it was not the first time when the authorities made such a statement.

“Even after becoming president in 2008, Serzh Sargsyan made such a statement and there were subsequent re-statements. Announcements have always been and, on the one hand, it becomes a little tiresome to hear such statements constantly. On the other hand, the April war and the difficult economic situation in Armenia showed that the phenomenon exists and it is a matter of national security. The authorities realize that the situation is very serious and it is necessary get out of this situation in some way,” Hoktanyan said.

How to get out of this situation is the most important issue.

“It can be just an incapacity but imitation is also possible. It can be because of the lack of clear mechanisms,” Hoktanyan said.

Anahit Bakhshyan said that both clear mechanisms and will are necessary for the struggle against corruption.

“If inability attributes to the government, it must resign immediately. If you cannot, you should give it to the political power that can, but they do not dare to say that they cannot. Today it is not only the word corruption but there are extremely wrinkled, old, defective items in all the layers and hidden drawers, relationships, people who continue to stay in their places. This is inability, which the government does not dare to declare. But really it cannot go on like this,” Bakhshyan said. 

Hayk Gevorgyan said that the last step needed is the legislative amendments.

“Both corruption and the monopolies have strictly structured, clear and systematic nature in Armenia that are linked to each other by different strings. It is naive to think that any legislative change in this relationship will bring a magic stick and push the fight against corruption and monopolies. That corruption, monopolies were created by political decisions and obtained a structural nature based on political decisions, so they can be eliminated only after making political decisions by the political elite. If it is decided that there will be no corruption, there will not be. The legislation is on the fourth, fifth place here,” Gevorgyan said.

Karen Zadoyan emphasized that the April war brought a sudden change in the perceptions of the authorities and society.  

“We saw the deeds of our soldiers on the border and other publications related to the properties, luxury villas of generals, systemic corruption, which also affects the national security. People saw all these and said that it will no longer tolerate it. In this regard, it is imperative to invest effective mechanisms. The government also realizes this. We have announced for 7 years that we should criminalize the illicit enrichment. The officials, who are accused of illegal enrichment, must prove the legality of their property and possessions before the court. In case of not proving, they should bear criminal responsibility, and the property has to be returned to the state. This is a very important mechanism, which should be applied in Armenia,” Zadoyan said.

Lilit Arakelyan, Program Coordinator-Editor at “Media Center”

To contact the author please send an email toLilitarakelyan@pjc.am

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