Iravaban.net had written about the expensive holiday gifts of Yerevan Municipality at the beginning of the year. On December 15, the Yerevan Municipality signed a contract with “Any Rose” Company to purchase a gift: a decorated box and basket with chocolate, dried fruits, tea, wine and brandy. The Municipality paid more than 4.3 million AMD for the gift.
On 23 December we sent a request to the Municipality asking whom this precious gift was presented and why this purchase was made. But our request remained unanswered. We sent the second request with the same question to the Municipality on 1 February and this one also remained without an answer.
Both inquiries were sent via e-mail. Notably we had sent requests and received replies by the same e-mail address ([email protected]) before and after these inquiries. Sending information electronically is considered appropriate based on the established procedures by the RA Governmental Decree 1204-N of 15.10.2015.
The third request, which was written in a rather strict tone, was sent a traditional postal format. And, finally, we received the answer. The letter from the Head of Information and Public Relations Department Artur Gevorgyan noted that they properly respond to the request on 23.12.2015 (but the reply was not received due to not understandable reasons), as for the request of 1 February, Mr. Gevorgyan wrote that they had not received it.
However, the Yerevan Municipality has not provided any clear and definite reply to our request on this issue yet, despite the number of request that we had sent. And in this case even the technical problems cannot serve as justification.
So, the head of the procurement department of the municipality Mr. G. Chtryan in his reply said, “The souvenirs of the decorated box and basket with chocolate, dried fruits, tea, wine and brandy purchased under the agreement signed between Yerevan Municipality and “Any Rose” Company are provided to different organizations, including diplomatic missions and some partner cities.”
In other words, it appears that they had bought souvenirs and not festive boxes and baskets. The second letter informed that that their number was 68. In this case, for each of the 68 souvenir more than 63 thousand AMD (about $ 130) was paid.
“… With this we inform that the festive boxes and baskets were sent to foreign embassies in the RA, as well as to the seats outside the RA, to the representations of partner international organizations that have diplomatic status – 43 pieces, and to Partner cities of Yerevan – 25 pieces,” Mr. D. Gevorgyan, the Head of Foreign Relations Department of Municipality Staff wrote.
But there is no indication on a number in the purchase document published on gnumner.am website and the indication of the product is a single number.
In his reply Mr. Gevorgyan wrote one more sentence, which causes additional questions, “At the same time, I inform you that no cognacs were bought under the purchase order,” indicates the reply. How it may appear that no cognacs was bought in case where in the product description it was clearly written, “A decorated New Year Box with chocolate, dried fruits, tea, wine and brandy.”
And, finally, so far we have not received the answer to the question as to whom specifically the specific souvenirs were handed. Meanwhile, we are still trying to get the answer to this question from the Municipality since December 2015. Whereas Civil servants are paid for the proper performance of their work from public funds which accumulate from the payments of taxpayers. And what is more important, especially when spending the state resources to maximize accountability and transparency must be the priority. We hope, this time the Municipality shall publicly explain in detail why the purchase documents were completed wrongly and whom the gifts (souvenirs) were handed.