Armenia's North-South Highway: French Construction Supervisor Charged with Swindling $1.9 Million
Armenia’s Prosecutor General’s Office has issued a report claiming that AMD 23.6 billion (($48.7 million) was squandered in the construction of the North-South Road Corridor between 2009 and 2018.
Charges of swindling have been brought against a French construction supervisor who worked on Tranche 1 of the project in 2016. He’s signed an affidavit not to leave Armenia prior to the start of his trial.
He's charged with colluding with Armenian Ministry of Transporation officials and a Spanish construction company to forge wage payment documents and pocketing $1.9 million in the process.
The findings, based on data supplied by the Ministry of Transportation, Communications and IT, confirms earlier revelations of widespread mismanagement, poor construction practices, and unjustified changes to the original project blueprints.
The report also charges government officials participating in drafting and conducting the project with agreeing to postponing construction deadlines and lengthening the contracts to those offering consultative services. These companies wound up being paid much more than originally planned for.
In addition to the financial losses accrued, the roadway was never finished on time, and failed to meet its original goals of facilitating interstate commerce and offering safe and convenient travel to citizens.