EU funds appropriated by the government-created GONGOs19:59, May 13, 2017 | News, Other news
Regarding the case of embezzlement of the European Union grant funds Lragir.am talked with head of Helsinki Citizens’ Assembly Vanadzor, human rights agent Artur Sakunts.
-Mr. Sakunts, there have been sensational disclosures in the grant projects allocated by the EU delegation in Armenia; there are detainees, what does this mean?
-It means a very simple thing: this shows that the European Union has a distinct will to reveal corruption crimes irrespective of who it relates, in which country it is committed and what various possible manipulations there might be regarding the fact. The EU more prioritizes prevention and elimination of the corruption crimes, rather than working style of covering up or concealing such facts. Secondly, there is another crucial fact that has been repeatedly voiced by the EU delegation chairperson and not only by him: it is corruption as the focal and pressing issue in Armenia.
It is a far more acknowledged and seriously assessed statement, because the EU virtually states that if corruption in a particular country has a pervasive and systematic nature, correspondingly, the effectiveness of the projects implemented by the EU are jeopardized. This means that even the EU cannot refrain from the corruption virus, if it persists as an unresolved issue in the country, and no adequate struggle is carried out against it.
-What projects is the information on the main embezzlements about? What can you say with this regard?
-I want to draw your attention to an important fact: those grant funds, as a general rule, have been appropriated by organizations that have failed to make serious investments or carry out activities in the field of human rights and democracy. It means that they are more like GONGOs, and the so-called GONGOs are non-governmental organizations set up by the government. Having corruption mechanisms and displaying a corruption behavior through its working style, the government also manifests that behavior in the agencies created by it. –In other word, can we say a pyramid functioned?
- Corruption system in Armenia is pyramidal, at the top of which stands the Government’s supreme body in the person of Serzh Sargsyan, who failed to undertake any measures to fight corruption. The Anti-Corruption Council has been a living corpse and inefficient from the beginning by which they attempted to show as if they struggled against corruption, but it failed to withstand the test of time. Given this, we point out that Serzh Sargsyan is the patron of the corruption pyramid. Moreover, the fact that Mihran Poghosyan, mentioned in the Panamanian documents, again appears among the MP candidates for the same ruling party and is elected as a deputy serves a direct proof of it. So, it is nothing but an immediate support and fostering of corruption.
- Do you think this scandal can impact on further projects funded by the EU in Armenia?
- In terms of implementing its policy the EU won’t change its accents and volumes, but will be more rigorous in their investments. At this point, mere promises of struggle against corruption and changes in democracy and legal fields will not be sufficient to get funding. Thus, the fact of revealing this corruption crime is a serious challenge before the Armenian authorities, claiming that the RA authorities have run out of their time for concession, comprehension and extra time.