Arguing that there is an immediate need to more closely investigate the assets and revenue sources of top officials in Armenia, opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan has called for the creation of an ad-hoc parliamentary committee to do just that.
Pashinyan says that in light of the parliament’s passage, on November 17, of a bill that would obligate employed citizens to pay 1,000 AMD per month into a fund that would financially assist the families of soldiers killed in the line of duty and military personnel so maimed, the public is demanding greater transparency when it comes to the exposing the finances of top government officials.
Currently, while officials and MPs must file financial disclosures they are not required to list the source of cash in bank deposits or how they acquired money to purchase expensive cars or homes.
Oftentimes, the numbers just don’t add up. Many MPs and officials declare millions in the bank but their salaries are much less. Armenia’s Commission on Ethics of High-Ranking Officials has never probed deeper into such contradictions, a shortcoming that many, including Pashinyan, regard as a glaring discrepancy.
The commission proposed by Pashinyan would dig deeper, investigating the income sources of officials and individuals related to them to gauge the legality of such sources.
The commission, if approved, would consist of seven members – two from the ruling Republican Party faction in the parliament and one each from the other factions.
Investigations into the finances of officials serving in government starting in 1991 to the present would be launched in three stages.