The Armenian government approved on Thursday more than 1.3 billion drams ($2.8 million) in funding for a range of anti-corruption measures which it said will be taken this year.
The government said it will concentrate on “neutralizing and/or reducing corruption risks” in law enforcement, tax collection, healthcare and education. At a weekly meeting chaired by Prime Minister Karen Karapetian, it made corresponding changes in a three-year plan of actions against various corrupt practices which was adopted in 2015.
Speaking at the cabinet meeting, a senior official said the planned measures will target 84 types of “corruption risks” but gave no details. The government also did not immediately specify the sources of funding for those measures.
It is understood to be planning to spend a large part of that money on training courses for law-enforcement and tax officers and employees of state medical and educational institutions.
Karapetian has repeatedly pledged to combat corruption since taking office in September 2016. A new anti-graft state body is due to start functioning this spring.
The Commission on Preventing Corruption is tasked with scrutinizing income and asset declarations to be submitted by over 2,000 senior state officials and investigating possible conflicts of interest among them. Under a government bill passed by the Armenian parliament in June 2017, the commission will be empowered to ask law-enforcement bodies to prosecute officials suspected of graft.
Armenian civic organizations remain very skeptical about these efforts. They say that the authorities still lack the political will to tackle the problem in earnest.
Armenia ranked, together with Bolivia and Vietnam, 113th out of 176 countries evaluated in Transparency International’s most recent Corruption Perceptions Index released in January 2016.