Ineffective Expenditures and Transactions Vulnerable to Corruption: Seminar on the Issues of Public Procurement Sector

The European Union is interested in the reforms in the area of public procurement in the Republic of Armenia. There are two reasons for that, first there is an agreement between the RA Government and the EU on harmonization of the standards in the public procurement sector, and second The EU provides budgetary support to the Republic of Armenia, 17 percents of which is targeted to this sector.

Mr. Alessandro Zanotta, International Aid/Cooperation Officer of the Delegation of the European Union to Armenia told this at the discussion “Corruption Risks in the Public Procurement Sector,” which was organized in Gavar. He stressed the importance of public oversight in this sector and advised to be more alert to these questions, “If there is oversight in the public procurement sector, the society will gain benefits from it.”

The discussion was organized in the framework of “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project co-funded by the European Union and the OCSE and is implemented by the Armenian Young lawyers Association (AYLA) in cooperation with the “Freedom of Information center” NGO.

“We should break the stereotype that the fight against corruption is the state problem. The civil society shall fight against the corruption as well,” Mr. Karen Zadoyan, the AYLA President said in his welcoming speech. He presented the achievements of the program: enhanced skills of NGO representatives in supervising the activities of state structures, currently ten NGOs have been awarded small grants aimed to conduct public oversight in different sectors of the state administration. The “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project section of information website has become more popular among the public. The section is updated on everyday basis and publishes analytical and investigative articles on corruption issues.

Another notable achievement is the agreement to cooperate with the government: this foresees creation of a working group, which will work to develop an effective anti-corruption model and the issues directed to criminalization of illicit enrichment. Mr. Carl Ulbricht and Mr. Marat Atovmyan, the experts of “Multi-Faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project will represent in the Anti-Corruption Coalition, which includes 70 CSOs in this working group.

Mr. Carl Ulbricht, International Expert of the project presented the international experience: corruption risks in public procurement, the causes of infective costs and options for their prevention. “If there is inefficient system, collusion, and corruption then the efficient use of resources is not supported,” said the expert. He gave the example of a case, where a few years ago during the seminar an employee of one of the schools in Gegharkunik marz told that they were forced to buy the necessary small quantity of the stationary buy only from a company which was located in Yerevan city. This is a plain example of inefficient spending of funds.

Mr. Marat Atovmyan, Local Expert of the project spoke about the public oversight in public procurement sector. According to him the objective of the oversight is to induce the state to ensure law enforcement. The expert presented numerous examples where the public record the problem and induce the state to solve it.

Mrs. Astghik Karapetyan, Journalist of independent professional website spoke about the tools on conducting data investigation in public procurement sector. On the example of the investigative articles published in website she demonstrated how to monitor the public procurement, speak about the corruption vulnerable transactions with ineffective costs.

Mrs. Nelly Harutyunyan, the Regional Coordinator/Expert of the project presented the situation in the marz. In her speech she quoted the report of the Control Chamber of the RA, according to which kindergarten and school buildings were alienated with gross violations and lands of special importance were provided for termless lease.

Representatives of CSOs, government agencies, the Ministry of Justice, Gegharkunik marz administration, Gavar City Council of Elders and staff representatives participated in the discussion