Asset 3


End of content No more pages to load

Your search did not match any articles

Vahe Sarukhanyan

Corruption Commission Investigates Legality of Yerevan Deputy Mayor’s Chairmanship of State Fund Board

After being appointed Yerevan deputy mayor last September, Tigran Avinyan has remained as chairman of the board of the Armenian National Interest Fund (ANIF), a state-created entity that works to attract investors to Armenia, often co-financing projects with private investors.

Avinyan has served as board chairman since 2019.

This has raised eyebrows in the country’s Corruption Prevention Commission (CPC), leading to the launch of an incompatibility case against Avinyan.

When Avinyan was appointed deputy mayor, the Armenian press raised questions as to whether he could legally serve at both posts at the same time. The ANIF responded that Avinyan was legally permitted to do so.

As justification, the ANIF cited Article 31 of the Public Service Law, according to which "a person holding a public position (such as Yerevan Deputy Mayor T. Avinyan - Hetq) can be included in the board of directors of a commercial organization with 50% or more Republic of Armenia participation if it is directly related to the implementation of the policy of his field of office, without receiving remuneration or compensation in any other way".

The ANIF noted that it is a commercial organization with 100% state participation, which is, of course, true. It noted that Avinyan isn’t remunerated as the chairman of the board of directors, which we cannot confirm or deny. But this isn’t the main issue at hand.

The question is that Article 31 of the Public Service Law allows such a combination, if the inclusion in the board of directors of a commercial organization is directly related to the implementation of the policy of the public office holder (in this case, the deputy mayor of Yerevan).

Note that when Avinyan held the position of Armenian deputy prime minister (2018-2021), the incompatibility question did not arise, because the ANIF is a government created fund tasked with attracting foreign investment, promoting the growth of exports, and has a mandate to co-finance investments in large-scale projects. According to the government's decision, the authority to manage the shares of the fund was assigned to the prime minister's office, and some activities must be agreed to by the deputy prime minister coordinating the sector.

But the combination of the positions of the deputy mayor of Yerevan and the chairman of the board of directors of ANIF caused confusion among the same journalists.

The ANIF, attempting to justify that the inclusion in the board of directors of a commercial organization is directly related to the implementation of the policies of the Yerevan deputy mayor's office (i.e., to show that the requirement of the law has been met), stated:

"Most of the current, so far unannounced, as well as future discussed programs of ANIF are directly related to Yerevan's development programs. Among them are the movement of citizens, infrastructure, tourism, service, construction, development, and other fields. The effectiveness and liquidity of a significant part of the programs implemented by ANIF are directly related to the functions of the Yerevan Municipality. Now, several projects of attraction of new investments by ANIF are under discussion in Yerevan, which are within the scope of the direct functions of the municipality. Therefore, the combination with the status of the deputy mayor in the independent supervisory body of ANIF does not contradict the law, but also contributes to the coordination of the state's investment and implementation of existing programs."

However, the Corruption Prevention Commission, in addition to citing the limitations of Article 31 of the Law on Public Service, also noted the limitations of the Law on Local Self-Government in the City of Yerevan. According to Article 48 of this law, deputy mayors cannot hold positions in commercial organizations.

Considering the existing limitations in the legislation, on December 12, the CPC decided to initiate proceedings based on the apparent violation of the requirements of incompatibility by the Deputy Mayor Tigran Avinyan. This decision was sent to Avinyan within three days.

According to the Law on the Prevention of Corruption Commission, the maximum duration of the proceedings is 90 days. As a result of the proceedings, the CPC adopts a conclusion on the presence or absence of a violation of the incompatibility requirements. The CPC sends the conclusion about the violation of the incompatibility requirements and all the documents of the proceedings to the authorities that have the authority to discuss (investigate) the issue of terminating the authority of that official (in this case, Yerevan Municipality). The official can appeal the decision in court.

Write a comment

If you found a typo you can notify us by selecting the text area and pressing CTRL+Enter