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Edik Baghdasaryan

Yervand Zakharyan prepares for retirement

Aghavni Yeghiazaryan
Edik Baghdasaryan

The Poghosyan brothers, Edgar and Vazgen, decided to start a small business. They wanted to open an auto repair shop, and applied to the Yerevan mayor's office to lease a plot of land.

With Decision # 2421-A of November 28, 2002, former Mayor Robert Nazaryan allocated a 24-square-meter plot in the yard of 22 Mayisyan Street to Edgar and Vazgen Poghosyan. In another decision, Nazaryan granted them an additional 26 square meters of land for 15 years to build an auto repair shop. Edgar Pogosyan signed a lease agreement with the Mayor's Office, had it notarized, registered the land with the State Cadastre, had the design approved, and got permission from the Kentron District Administration to begin the construction work - everything in accordance with the law.

In 2003, when the construction was underway, the new mayor of Yerevan, Yervand Zakharyan, instructed his employees to demolish the half built garage without any explanation.

Yervand Zakharyan's daughter's beauty salon, Vanilla, is located on the first floor of 22 Mayisyan Street, and his brother, Member of Parliament Sayad Zakharyan, has an office on the second floor of the same building. Cars with famous number plates are parked here at night. It can be assumed that all the land allocations in the city are decided here.

"Tomorrow, when I retire, I am going to sit in this office and this building will naturally block my view." This is how Yervand Zakharyan explained his decision to pull down the construction to Edgar Poghosyan's father, Levon.

In order to stop the illegal actions and recover his losses, Edgar appealed to the court. The mayor's representative, Karine Danielyan, explained in court, "Although the documents necessary for the construction are present, the mayor found that the construction was unauthorized, and that is why it was pulled down."

The mayor's representative admitted that there was no decision on demolishing the construction or on nullifying the permission to build the construction, but she explained that the mayor prevents or demolishes unauthorized constructions in accordance with the presidential decree on State Management in the City of Yerevan.

The Court of Appeal on Civil Cases of Armenia (Judge T. Sahakyan presiding) acknowledged that the mayor's office had demolished the construction illegally without any substantiation. The Court complied with the appeal and ruled to confiscate from the mayor's office 5,491,000 drams (about $11,000) and another $28,800 in compensation to Edgar Poghosyan. The mayor's office appealed against this ruling to the Court of Cassation. The court session hasn't taken place yet.

Meanwhile, the Office of the Prosecutor General has asked the court to invalidate all the decisions of former Mayor Robert Nazaryan regarding this 50 square meters of land, as well as all the contracts signed in relation to the construction, alleging that numerous violations of the law had taken place.

"Everything was proceeding in accordance with the law when Robert Nazaryan was the Mayor. But the current Mayor simply doesn't want anything to be built there for personal reasons. He offered us another plot of land, we agreed but he never kept his promise. So we have decided to begin the construction work", Edgar's father, Levon Poghosyan explains.

On November 23, 2004 the Court of Appeal on Civil Cases of Armenia (Judge Levon Grigoryan presiding) complied with the appeal of the Office of the Prosecutor General and ruled to oblige Edgar Poghosyan to vacate the land plot in the yard of 22 Mayisyan Street.

"We have appealed against this ruling to the Court of Cassation. All our documents are legal, no law has been violated. This is an unlawful litigation", says Armen Abovyan, Poghosyan's lawyer.

The Office of the Prosecutor General has decided to take an interest especially in this plot of land in particular, although there have been numerous illegal land allocations in Yerevan. The reason is simple - a high-level official from the Office of the Prosecutor General was given land (not in his name, of course) by the Mayor's office as a token of appreciation. Only this can explain the interest of the Office of the Prosecutor General in 50 square meters of land, while various officials do illegal construction work all over Yerevan before their very eyes.