The work done as a result of cooperation of the Government and Civil Society was summarized on 9 December, the International Anti-Corruption Day as well.
Mr. Davit Harutyunyan, the Minister-Chief of Staff of the Government of the RA, Mr. Arthur Davtyan, the RA Prosecutor General, and Mr. Karen Zadoyan, the President of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association and the Coordinator of the Secretariat of the CSO Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia, other officials and representatives of international organizations participated in the “Government-CSO Cooperation” Anti-Corruption Forum.
It was reported that the first step was the development of the legislative package aimed at criminalization of illicit enrichment. If a person having the obligation to submit a declaration of income and assets cannot reasonably justify the lawfulness of obtained property or income shall be charged with illegal enrichment.
Secondly, it was examined what mechanisms can allow to bypass article which criminalize the illicit enrichment. According to Davit Harutyunyan the studies have shown that currently the given or received loans rather often appear in the filled in declarations. And a new bill was developed which provides that all transactions which have the value over 2 million AMD shall be made in non-cash form. “In case they are made in cash this will not be considered legitimate income and the person will appear in the field of illicit enrichment.”
Third, the relevant bill expanded the scope of persons who are required to submit a declaration of income and assets.
Fourth was the discussion on the development of the package of independent anti-corruption body. In this regard, discussions were carried out in the following directions: to have a preventive independent body, which shall have only educational and preventive powers, or to have a universal body, which will have the power to instigate criminal case and to conduct investigation as well.
Fifth, introduction of the whistleblowers institute.
Currently the mechanisms for the government to provide the whistleblowers anonymity and security by law are discussed. “We will create an anonymous communication tool with law enforcement agencies which is guaranteed by technical means. The modern technologies will be used. However, considering the fact that people may not trust it, we shall use the measures that popular worldwide and have proven the effectiveness,” Davit Harutyunyan said.
Mr. Arthur Davtyan, the RA Prosecutor General, also noted the importance of public confidence in the activities of bodies carrying out criminal prosecution and their support. He also presented some indicators: specifically, 54 criminal cases were initiated in the period of September-November this year on the facts of offenses committed by the judges as well as the Police, CES, Penitentiary Department, Investigative Committee, State Revenue Committee employees. In 19 cases charges were brought against officials.
“I want to assure you that the prosecution has a statutory mandate to enhance the effectiveness of the fight,” Mr. Arthur Davtyan said.
Mr. Karen Zadoyan stressed the importance of having visible results in fighting corruption. He recalled the earlier words of the President, “you need to catch the big fish” and added that only after such major discoveries the confidence of the public will increase and the state will have public support for the further reforms.
The official closing ceremony of the “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project was held today as well, where the activities carried out in the period of the past three years the results and achievements were summarized. The project is funded by the European Union and co-funded by the OSCE Office in Yerevan. It is implemented by the “Armenian Lawyers’ Association” NGO in cooperation with “Freedom of Information Center.”
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