“Largest corruption case in history of Armenia” - Army general and MP suspected in theft of soldier rations
The Prosecutor General of Armenia submitted a petition on stripping General Manvel Grigoryan of parliamentary immunity. He is suspected of illegally purchasing and storing weapons and ammunition.
Grigoryan is a member of the National Assembly of Armenia and the Republican Party of Armenia faction. He also heads the Yerkrapah Volunteer Union, which includes many veterans of the Karabakh war, of which Grigoryan himself is one.
The National Security Service of Armenia carried out searches in the General ’s private home and cottage this week. In addition to a large number of weapons, canned foods, personal hygiene products and underwear were found. These items were donated by ordinary citizens, including socially vulnerable Armenians, as well as various public and commercial organizations during the escalation of hostilities in Karabakh in April 2016.
In the video shown by the National Security Service, there were also letters mailed by schoolchildren, in which they expressed their support to the soldiers.
The MPs properties also contained car parks with dozens of vehicles, including rare models, as well as numerous certificates of real estate ownership. General Grigoryan also has a zoo of sorts complete with tigers, bears and ostriches, and these animals were fed rations intended for soldiers.
Tomorrow at an extraordinary session of the parliament the lawmakers will consider removing deputy Grigoryan’s immunity and bringing him to criminal responsibility.
rime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan called Grigoryan’s case the largest corruption exposure in the entire independent history of Armenia.
“Both myself and the Armenian society do not see any obstacles in that all persons involved in this case are exposed and called to account, regardless of their rank and status. The case must be investigated to the end.”
Since the arrest, Vice Speaker of the National Assembly Eduard Sharmazanov and Head of the Republican Party of Armenia faction Vahram Baghdasaryan met with General Grigoryan.
Sharmazanov said that if the general is guilty, he must be punished:
“What I saw surprised me. I have no words, I think that no normal person can remain indifferent to what we have seen. If the investigation proves Grigoryan’s guilt, he must be held accountable with all the severity of the law. In such matters no merit, no posts, no political orientation are important – everyone is equal in the eyes of the law.”
Meanwhile, Grigoryan’s lawyer, Grant Ananyan, refused to defend him. Ananyan stated on his Facebook page that this was due to new circumstances which have appeared surrounding the case.
“After the Prime Minister’s speech and the publication of the video by the National Security Service, I was taken by surprise when I learned that, in addition to suspicions of illegal possession of weapons and ammunition, there are other circumstances in the case that I was not informed about.”
Press secretary of the Ministry of Defense Artsrun Hovhannisyan stated that the items provided for the needs of the army which could have been transferred to the Yerkrapah Volunteers Union lawfully.
“In the days of the April war, and after, there were groups of volunteers in Artsakh who were officially supplied by the armed forces. Uniforms, food and other things.”
Artsrun Hovhannisyan noted that the Ministry of Defense does not control the distribution of goods to the union of volunteers. Yerkrapah only provides reports and it turns out that the reports were falsified.
Against the backdrop of all these events, Karen Grigoryan, the son of Manvel Grigoryan, resigned as mayor of Echmiadzin city.
“I am Karen Grigoryan, I resign of my own will,” he posted on his Facebook page.
The video of the searches was heavily discussed by users of social networks. All of them are approximately of the same content: people are shocked by the information and demand justice. Here are some of their comments:
“I felt seriously sick from disgust … That’s how these creatures were destroying a small country that has been in a state of war for 30 years. It was from them that hundreds of thousands of people fled Armenia: from their theft, lawlessness, massacres. According to the laws of wartime, they should be shot for this on the spot … The hour of reckoning has come. And the more you tug, the worse for you. We demand that the banquet continues – at the addresses of other members of the Republican Party.”
“Manvel Grigoryan, of course, is a showpiece for the museum called ‘Sons of b*tches and their children’. But didn’t everyone know that? Yes, everyone knew. And now, if you ask around on the streets, anyone will list 5-10 names deserving a place in the same museum.”