Today, on 21 July, the 3rd Conference of the CSO’s Anti-Corruption Coalition took place.
During the Conference, President of the Armenian Lawyer’s Association, Mr. Karen Zadoyan, Coordinator of the Secretariat of CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia presented the results of the Coalition’s activities during the last year.
After the Four-Day April War last year, the CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia presented a six-point road map to the Government of Armenia, “We wanted to implement important anti-corruption reforms in Armenia, introduce new mechanisms to help combat corruption in Armenia,” Mr. Zadoyan said.
These steps include the creation of an independent anti-corruption body; protection of the whistleblowers’ rights; introduction of the institute of beneficial owners, the re-launch of anti-corruption centers against administrative corruption; and the reduction of corruption risks in the business sector.
Speaking about the creation of an independent anti-corruption body, Karen Zadoyan reminded that the legal acts on this body were developed as a result of the government and civil society dialogue.
He also informed that from the two models put on the table, the executive chose the model of an anti-corruption preventive body, whereas the Coalition was inclined to a universal model that implements preventive, educational and law enforcement functions.
Nevertheless, the Government entered into a dialogue and in its 2017-2022 plan also included a study of the universal model. “We believe that we should direct all our efforts and do our utmost to ensure that the latest in 2018, when the preventive anti-corruption body will operate, we simultaneously have a joint investigative body examining the corruption crimes, because we cannot make serious results if this approach is not complex,” the ALA Head noted and detailed that the Coalition sees the implementation of this function in the Special Investigation Service.
The introduction of the Institute of Beneficial Owners in Armenia was partially implemented. Karen Zadoyan said, adding that at this stage the government has introduced it only in procurement sector. “The RA Law on Procurements include a provision that companies that will win the competition must disclose to their beneficial owners, otherwise the state has the right not to sign the respective contract with them,” ALA President said and stressed that the field of economic competition remains open
The next point of the roadmap is the restart of anti-corruption centers. Karen Zadoyan reminded that these centers were operational in 2011-2014. During this period 736 cases were sent to the law enforcement bodies, and 916 applications to state and other bodies. In 2011-2014, Armenia had a positive shift in corruption perceptions index than over the past three years. Therefore there was a recommendation in the Anti-Corruption Council to initiate the re-launch of these centers,
After the report, the Coalition continued its work, first elected members of the Governing Bord, after which a meeting of the Governing Board was convened, during which the Chairman of the Board was elected.
The following CSO were elected members of the Governing Board of the Coalition:
Tevan Poghosyan was elected Chairman of the Governing Board of Anti-Corruption Coalition of Civil Society Organizations of Armenian. President of the Armenian Lawyer’s Association , Mr. Karen Zadoyan, Coordinator of the Secretariat of CSOs’ Anti-Corruption Coalition of Armenia nominated his candidacy at the Governing Board session. “Very often, the Coalition is being connected and identified with my personality, but it is a diverse body. I want to nominate Tevan Poghosyan on behalf of our organization. He is a person who has been engaged in active parliamentary activities, has presented the interests of the public sector and is at the root of the creation of civil society organizations,” Karen Zadoyan said.
The Governing Board unanimously voted for Tevan Poghosyan, President of the International Center for Human Development. In his words, the coalition imagines the implementation of anti-corruption reforms in Armenia on institutional basis. The new Chairman also announced his plans. “The first work will be based on positive experiences and successes to realize and understand what style we should change to be able to address the remaining issues. We must also realize that the main issues of the fight against corruption are education and prevention, if we do not di this it will not move forward,” Mr. Poghosyan said.
The Chairman of the governing Board of the Coalition considers elimination of the atmosphere of impunity a priority. ” We must be able to achieve a situation where it will be impossible to avoid punishment in Armenia, and never have situations where the atmosphere of impunity continues to exist,” he emphasized.
As a result of the dialogue with the Government, the Coalition has introduced a number of issues on the legal agenda, such as the criminalization of illicit enrichment, the introduction of the whistleblowers’ institute, etc. Tevan Poghosyan assured that the dialogue with the executive will continue. “Anyway, the dialogue is necessary. This is our country. Dialog does not mean that we are going to be satisfied with what the Government says. The dialogue is respected when you know not only when you hear to what is said, but also when you are heard,” Mr. Poghosyan said.
“The Coalition is the institute that at this moment with conscious perception and approach can at least raise the issue and bring it to decision-makers, and to carry out the steps so that the decision makers do not act as they want and take into account the Coalition,” tevan Poghosyan added.
The Anti-Corruption Coalition of Civil Society Organizations of Armenia was established on 28 November, 2014 by the initiative of the Armenian Lawyers’ Association. The Coalition includes about 95 CSOs from Yerevan and the RA regions. The coalition has been established with the support of the European Union.