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Armenian PM Calls For Law To Criminalize ‘Illegal Enrichment’


Armenia - Prime Minister Karen Karapetian presents a 2017 draft budget to National Assembly committees, 31Oct, 2016

Armenia - Prime Minister Karen Karapetian presents a 2017 draft budget to National Assembly committees, 31Oct, 2016

Armenian Prime Minister Karen Karapetian has instructed his cabinet to draft a bill envisaging criminal punishment for officials who become rich “illegally”.

“An official shall be subject to criminal liability if the rate of growth of his assets significantly exceeds his incomes,” Karapetian told a regular government session on Thursday, issuing a number of related instructions.

The steps to be taken against “illegal enrichment”, according to the prime minister, stem from the government’s plan that was overwhelmingly approved by the Armenian parliament late last week as well as promises to fight against corruption. He instructed the minister of justice to present a bill to the government within a two-week period, adding that another draft law on restricting cash transactions should also be submitted along with this bill.

The premier said that questions often rise when in many cases officials mention in their income declarations that they borrowed money. “So-called false loans, false donations are mainly made in cash, and this makes the process uncontrollable in principle. To solve these problems, I instruct the minister of justice together with the Central Bank to present within a two-week period to the government for discussion a bill that would limit cash transactions,” he said.

Two and a half months after becoming prime minister Karapetian also spoke about the government-affiliated Anticorruption Council. His predecessor Hovik Abrahamian also spoke about making the body more effective, trying to involve civil society representatives in it. Many public figures representing civil society, however, have refused to engage in it. The new premier instructed the justice minister “to organize meetings with representatives of civil society, the opposition and all stakeholders and to submit a proposal on the formation of the Council, its principles and revision of its composition.”

During today’s cabinet session four ministries presented proposals on the dissolution of so-called program implementation offices (PIOs) as part of the current cost-cutting measures of the government. Among the PIOs to be dissolved are those dealing with cultural programs, programs related to sports and youth affairs as well as management of emergency situations.

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