16.07.2019 | In the context of the ban on hunting Whitefish, facts of sale of more than 44,000 kg of whitefish were identified for canning, export and other purposes. A criminal case has been initiated

On the basis of publications in the media, the Department for the Protection of State Interests of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Armenia conducted a check on the use of whitefish resources. In order to provide a legal assessment of the issue data were obtained from the Ministry of the Environment, the State Revenue Committee and the Food Safety Inspectorate on the catch, volume of fishing, import, export and fishing of this type of fish. According to the RA Law "On Animal World",  hunting animals or their extraction for industrial, agricultural and social purposes can be carried out on a fee basis under contracts, and the procedure for concluding use contracts is defined by the Government of the Republic of Armenia.

 

By the decisions of the Government of the Republic of Armenia dated 22.08.2002 № 1380-Ն and 10.07.2003 г.  № 884-Ն  , the procedures for concluding agreements on the use of wildlife for agricultural, industrial and social purposes were established. According to the information received from the RA Ministry of Environment , in accordance with the orders of the head of the ministry in the waters of Armenia in 2014-2019, the volumes of whitefish were not established, nor were the agreements on amateur fishing or catching.

 

Thus, the extraction of this type of fish on the territory of the Republic was prohibited. At the same time, the Ministry does not have data on natural or artificial fishing for whitefish outside the waters of Lake Sevan.

 

The check also found that in 2013-2019 import of this type of fish to the Republic was not carried out. At the same time, the Food Safety Inspectorate, in January, 2010, in the warehouse of one of the companies in Gegharkunik region, found 6 thousand kg of canned food "Sevan sig",, produced in March 2018. According to the compiled 20 acts on procurement, in October, November and December 2017, the company acquired about 11. 550 kg of whitefish for a total of 5.6 million drams in the fish market in the village of Tsovagyugh, of which in January-February 2018 produced canned food. In addition, inspections in a company operating in  Ararat region found that on December 6, 2017, the company purchased 10 thousand kg of whitefish from a public organization registered in the NKR for a total of 4.8 million drams.

 

It also turned out that in March-August 2018 another company exported 14,876 kg of smoked whitefish to the Russian Federation. According to two tax invoices, it also acquired 7,700 kg of whitefish from another company, while indicating Her-Her reservoir in  Vayots Dzor region as the place of purchase. At the same time, according to the law "On compensation for damage caused to flora and fauna as a result of environmental crimes", the minimum penalty in case of illegal hunting and / or destruction of whitefish is set at 1000 AMD per kilogram. Thus, in the absence of sanctions by the authorized state body and the established amount for permission to catch whitefish, as well as the signed agreements, illegal fishing was conducted in 2017–2018 in Armenia, in which a group of persons took part in a preliminary agreement. As a result of the conspiracy, the state suffered 200-fold damage from the minimum wage,  in the event that the acquired by criminal means fish was sold and implemented in large quantities by other persons.

 

According to the results of research in the Department for the Protection of State Interests of the General Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Armenia, a criminal case was initiated on the grounds of paragraph 1, part 3 of article 216 (Acquisition or sale of property knowingly obtained by criminal means on a particularly large scale) and paragraph 2 of part 2 of article 292 (Illegal extraction of aquatic animals and plants by a group of persons by prior agreement) of the RA Criminal Code.

 

The preliminary investigation was entrusted to the Investigative Committee of the Republic of Armenia.

 

Note: Every person suspected in or charged with a criminal offense shall be presumed innocent unless proved guilty in the manner prescribed by the RA Criminal Procedure Code and unless the verdict comes into legal force.

ՀՀ գլխավոր դատախազ Արթուր Դավթյանի շնորհավորական ուղերձը հանդիսավոր նիստում

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