The Anti-Corruption Council discussed Important Mechanisms

This week was really important from the aspect of the fight against corruption. The seemingly simple two press releases informing about the Meeting of Anti-Corruption Council, can have a crucial importance for the fight against this evil.

The first meeting, was held on 15 June. The regular meeting of the Anti-Corruption Council was chaired by the Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan. The meeting was attended by the representatives of the political parties, international organizations and the civil society.

The RA Minister of Justice Arpine Hovhannisyan and the President of Armenian Lawyers’ Association Karen Zadoyan spoke on the first topic of the agenda. They introduced the results of the study of the institutional system of fight against corruption and the similar experience of different countries carried out in the scope of the joint working group.

The working group proposes two options: to create an independent universal anti-corruption body, which will include three components: investigative, preventive and education, or an independent Anti-Corruption Body, which will have preventive and education functions, as well as a specialized investigative body.

Then Karen Zadoyan spoke about the issue of introduction of the institute of the real owners in the sphere of the public procurements and limitation of participation in the public procurements processes from the offshore zones. Responding to this the Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan generally considered acceptable the proposed approach, and noting that the issue is important and wide-ranging instructed the Minister of Justice, to introduce a legislative package to the Staff of the Government in the two months period.

The work of the council was so extensive and the debates were heated that the session was moved to 17 June. Once and again the ALA President Karen Zadoyan’s proposals were in the focus of the agenda. He presented the results of the study of Government – Civil Society joint working group on the expediency of criminalization of illicit enrichment and the recommendations elaborated based on these findings. Referring to the issue the Prime Minister said, “Stressing the importance of this issue, I want to remind our partners, that the government has included it the 2015-2018 Anti-Corruption Strategy and I propose to assign the Minister of Justice to develop a legislative package in the period of two months in cooperation with our partners from the civil society sector and all the interested stakeholders, discuss, prepare and send it to the National Assembly.”

These legal terms that may seem alien to many of our citizens, in fact are solving a number of issues that are highly jeopardizing our national security.

For example, the offshore scandals in recent years are the most discussed issues; both the civil society organizations and the government are dissatisfied with this sector. What solutions were proposed?

It is not secret that many officials in our country are illegally enriched. This is easily seen from the daily news. In addition the castles that are constantly rising are striking examples. In order to fight against all these first of all it is necessary to adjust the legislative framework so that the mechanisms are provided to the law enforcement authorities, and thus it is recommended to criminalize the illicit enrichment.

The next issue is the fight against corruption. In recent years, our country holds the negative positions in fight against corruption according to all indicators. It is therefore proposed to establish an independent universal anti-corruption body, which will have preventive, educational and investigative powers.

Notably, all of these recommendations, which are considered a priority by the government, were elaborated and proposed by the CSO’s Anti-Corruption Coalition and the Armenina Lawyers’ Association.

Also watch the reportage