Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamian has forwarded to state prosecutors a controversial report by Armenia’s Audit Chamber alleging widespread misuse and waste of public funds by various government agencies, it emerged on Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the Office of the Prosecutor-General, Sona Truzian, said the law-enforcement body is already looking into the report criticized by the Armenian government. She told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) that the prosecutors will decide whether its findings warrant the launch of an official criminal investigation.
The head of the chamber, Ishkhan Zakarian, alleged widespread corruption in the administration of public procurements when he addressed the National Assembly earlier this month. The allegations were picked up by not only opposition deputies but also some of their pro-government colleagues, including Abrahamian.
The government dismissed Zakarian’s report. Prime Minister Tigran Sarkisian last week accused the oversight body subordinate to the parliament of grossly exaggerating possible financial abuses for political purposes. Sarkisian instructed his cabinet members to publicly refute those allegations or ask law-enforcement authorities to investigate them.
Sarkisian announced on Thursday that several ministers will hold news conferences in the coming days to respond to the corruption claims.
Truzian revealed Abrahamian’s petition just hours after another senior lawmaker from the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (HHK), Galust Sahakian, said the HHK will not ask the prosecutors to investigate the Audit Chamber claims.
“The HHK faction cannot act like a plaintiff because when you complain to the prosecutor’s office you need spend several months substantiating your claims,” Sahakian told RFE/RL’s Armenian service. He also argued that the prosecutors do not have to receive formal complaints in order to launch criminal proceedings.