On 9 July, the RA Prime Minister was on a one-day visit to Moscow. As in all other cases, the delegation was on a business travel with souvenirs. 6 bottles of 10-year-old “Dvin”, 24 bottles of 20-year-old “Nairi”, 12 bottles of 10-year-old “Akhtamar”, 2 bottles of 25 year old “Erebuni” cognacs were bought from “Agulis Mek” CJSC, with a total price of around 1,5 million AMD. The basis for the purchase was the Decision 528-A of the Prime Minister, which set the composition of the delegation and the sources from which the purchase should be done. In addition 2 bottles of 30 year old “Kilikia” cognacs were bought from “Artexim” Company with the cost of 400 thousand AMD.
Also, 30 pcs of gift packages were bought from entrepreneur Edik Simonyan, 210 gram paper laminated blue color, two-sided gilt tattooing with the government building, handles, gilt threads. 57 thousand AMD was paid for the packages.
The delegation headed by Hovik Abrahamyan, visited Georgia on 25-27 July, 2015, to attend the official opening ceremony of the 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival. This time the expensive beverages were bought form “Agulis Mek” CJSC and “Artexim” Company as well.
4 bottles of 30 year old “Kilikia” cognacs, each with a cost of 200 thousand 500 AMD were bought from “Artexim” Company, as well as 1 bottle of 40 Year of cognac “Sparapet” with a cost of 401 thousand AMD. A total cost of 1.2 million AMD was paid to the Company. 6 bottles of 10-year-old “Dvin”, 24 bottles of 20-year-old “Nairi”, and 12 bottles of “Akhtamar” cognac were bought from “Agulis Mek” CJSC for the total cost of 1 million 439 thousand AMD. The basis for these purchase was Decision 658-A of the Prime Minister and thus 2 million 640 thousand AMD was paid for the cognacs for this trip.
On 7-9 September, based on the Decision 803-A of the Prime Minister, the Governmental delegation visited Belarus. In this case also the cognacs were bought from the same companies. 1 million 248 thousand AMD was paid to “Agulis Mek” CJSC, for, 18 bottles of 20-year-old “Nairi”, 6 bottles of 10-year-old “Dvin”, and 24 bottles of “Akhtamar” cognacs.
On 21-24 September, based on the Decision 837-A of the Prime Minister, The governmental delegation visited China to participate in the 6th Eurasian Economic Forum “A New Model of Cooperation. The Joint Development of the Countries of the Silk Road.” This time, in addition to beverages, the carpets were purchased as well from “Megeryan Carpet” Company. In fact, this year, the souvenir carpets have always been bought from the same company.
In the framework of this visit 425 thousand AMD was paid to “Artexim” Company for 6 bottles of “Karas” wine, 1 bottle of 40-year-old “Sparapet” cognac. 1 million 575 thousand AMD was paid to “Artexim” Company for 2 bottles of 30-year-old “Kilikia” cognacs, 18 bottles of 20-year-old “Nairi, and 9 bottlrs of 10-year-old “Dvin” cognacs. 3 handmade carpets on cotton warp were bought from “Megeryan Carpet” Company with 4,2 million AMD.
Davit Beglaryan also notes that in the scope of the foreign visits of the Governmental delegations, the Staff of the RA Government is governed by the RA Legislation on procurements and the corresponding legal acts for the purchase of souvenirs. In other words, the obvious answer is that there are no clearly defined criteria, and selection, of course, is the subject of preferences.
Davit Beglaryan did not answer to the important question, why the souvenirs are bought mainly from the same Companies.
Mr. Marat Atovmyan, the local expert of the “Multi-faceted Anti-Corruption Promotion” project in the interview with Iravaban.net said that procurement may include certain risks form the same economic companies or the one person entities. This can lead to the increase of prices. “It is likely that during the negotiations with other entities the similar products can be obtained at cheaper prices. I definitely think that it would be better to cooperate with the various economic persons. And it would also provide opportunity to refrain from assumptions why the government has stopped on these companies for years and cooperates just with this companies for years.”
The expert also addressed the question of the absence of legal criteria for the purchase of souvenirs. “There are regulations connected with the per diem costs during the business trips. Maybe as a result of discussions it may be considered that it is expedient to set a scale for the purchase of souvenirs as well. This will set the cost limits for the souvenirs and their types in case of business trips to different countries.”