The fate of the secondary school in the village of Tzilkar in Aragatsotn marz hangs in the balance. The reason is the agricultural loans provided to the villagers by VTB Bank. The bank is trying to reclaim the unpaid loan, interest and fines through state and community institutions. In 2007, the villagers of Tzilkar took out loans from the Spitak branch of VTB Bank, with the school and municipality standing as guarantors for 12 of them, so that they could be eligible for applying. Given the conditions of draught and unfavorable weather that followed, as well as the financial crisis, many of the villagers have been unable to repay the loans.
VTB Bank has gone to court demanding a freeze on the accounts and assets of the school and municipality, in order to reclaim the money owed by the residents of Tzilkar, although some of the villagers had also provided their own property as collateral.
The Court of First Instance had ruled in favor of the villagers and ordered the assets of the school and municipality to be released. But the bank went to the Court of Appeals and, last week, the verdict for one of the twelve residents was declared. In the case of the bank versus Angela Mkrtchyan, the Court ordered that the assets and accounts of the municipality remain free of the bank’s control, but decided to satisfy the bank’s claim to freeze the school’s assets and account.
On October 20, another session of the Court of Appeals is expected and the previous verdict might serve as a precedent. In one month, the decision of the Court of Appeals will come into force and the bank will have the right to repossess all the finances transferred to the school.
P.S. Tzilkar is not the only village where the municipality and the school have stood as guarantors for residents seeking loans. In future articles, we will report on other villages which face a similar fate.