Grisha Balasanyan

Profitable Patronage: Many Government Contracts Go to Brother of Aragatzotn Provincial Governor

It’s no surprise to residents of Aragatzotn Province in Armenia that being the brother of the Provincial Governor definitely has its perks, especially when it comes to winning huge business tenders.

To say that nepotism is widespread in Aragatzotn is an understatement, but take the case of Nairi Sahakyan, brother of provincial Governor Sargis Sahakyan.

Nairi’s appropriately named company “Yes yev Na” Ltd. (Me and Him), seems to constantly beat the competition when it comes to corralling large government contracts.

For example, on March 4 of this year the company signed a 49.5 million AMD contract to renovate the school in Nor Edesa. It received 9.9 million as a down payment for the job.

On the same day, Governor Sahakyan signed a 115 million AMD deal with his brother to renovate Public School #2 in Talin. 23 million was transferred to the company even before work had started.

Just days later, on March 12, the Governor signed an 18.5 million contract with “Me and Him Ltd.” for renovations to the Agarakavan community cultural center. Once again, the company received a nice down payment. This time it was 3.7 million.

Another contract with the company, signed the same day, was for 38 million to renovate the school in the village of Oudjan. In this case, the down payment was 7.6 million.

For all the above contracts, the work deadline was set at October 25 of this year.

Readers should note that in 2011 the RA government allocated 1.344 million AMD from its surplus fund to tackle the most pressing issues in Aragatzotn. Last year, the figure was 853.9 million.

The funds have been used to renovate schools, cultural centers, kindergartens, town roads, the roofs of residential houses, water pipes, and for a host of other projects.

Not surprisingly, “Me and Him Ltd.” won a good number of the contracts for the above work tenders.

Hetq wrote to Governor Sargis Sahakyan, requesting that he provide us with specifics about the tenders and the winning companies. Sahakyan balked at supplying any specifics and stuck to general disclosures that failed to cite the tenders won by his brother’s company and their value.

Governor Sahakyan failed to provide specific information when we asked a second time.

What is he trying to hide?