by Tatevik Shahunyan
Two years after Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stressed the need to separate entrepreneurship from the power, the country has a new government, which includes at least 5 people ranked among the top 20 wealthy people in the country, with Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan among the top three, opposition MP Nikol Pashinyan said in Parliament when discussing the Government's new programme on May 21.
To prove his statement, Pashinyan said, "Over the years of independence, Hovik Abrahamyan held state positions almost constantly and, therefore, has become one of the wealthiest people in the country. Thousands of hectares of plots, gas and petroleum filling stations, hotels, plants, mansions and so on and so forth. At least 2 storeys in each building in the center of Yerevan belong to him. The property declared by David Haroutyunyan is so much that one can think he has been working as an estate agent all this time, not an official. Economy Minister Karen Tchshmarityan is also engaged in an offshore scandal. He has opened a company in the offshore zone and built the Golden Palace hotel". Pashinyan qualified the Government's program as a business plan of the oligarchs.
As regards Finance Minister Gagik Khachatryan, Pashinyan said that Khachatryan's name features in almost every company: Ucom, Megaphone, Megasport, Megafood, etc. "They are speaking about corruption from morning till night, they stress the need to combat corruption. But what is corruption? Corruption is Hovik Abrahamyan, who was a minister of territorial administration for many years and at the same time coordinated the agrarian sector and received 1.2 mln USD income from agriculture, while thousands of farmers were bending under the burden of loans and leaving the country. After Ucom was founded, the State Revenue Committee "suddenly" refused ArmenTel's services and started using the services of Ucom. Gagik Khachatryan says he has nothing to do with it, because the agreement was signed by the head of the Staff of the State Revenue Committee. What does it mean? The head of the Staff signed it, but the head of the Committee was unaware of it! Ucom belongs to Khachatryan, but he says it belongs to his nephew. Another company belongs to another nephew", said Pashinyan.
"The Government mentions in its program that it is necessary to form a national brand. One shouldn't do it, because as long as we have this government and Serzh Sargsyan as President, we can have only one brand - corruption!!!" he said.
Pashinyan added, "Today I have asked Hovik Abrahamyan how he earned his millions, and he has replied that he used to be engaged in farming. So, you were engaged in farming and held a state position at the same time. Let's look at the results. The result of your activity as a state official is that the country is on the brink of collapse, the country faces 32.5% poverty and large-scale migration. The result of your farming is millions. So, you are better at growing tomatoes and you'd better keep on growing tomatoes". Pashinyan also made a statement regarding Speaker of Armenian Parliament Galust Sahakyan. "When I was asking a question, Mr. Sahakyan told me "not to be naughty". Mr. Sahakyan, if you are not good at choosing words and combining them, it gives you no right to make yourself at a kindergarten. If you keep behaving this way, we'll take relevant measures. We have a good experience in educating pseudo-kindergarteners", he said.