26.07.2019 | Abuses in compensation of damage caused by tree felling for Teghout operation. A criminal case has been initiated

On the initiative of the Department of State Interests Protection of the RA Prosecutor General's Office the state of compliance with the obligations under the State Program for Compensation of Damage Caused by Teghout Development Program was studied.

 

For this, the relevant documents and information were requested from the Ministry of Environment of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Economy of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia, Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport of the Republic of Armenia.

 

It has been found out that according to the governmental resolution №1278-Ն dated on 1 November 2007 permitted felling of 357 ha of forest covered located within the administrative ranges of the rural villages in Lori region, as well as beyond their borders for the development of Teghout Mine, while the RA Minister of  Nature Protection and Minister of Agriculture had been assigned to approve the program on compensation of damage caused to the forest economy with the felling of the forest cover.

 

On 27 July 2012, “Teghout” CJSC and “ArmForest” SNCO signed an agreement, which obligated the SNCO to carry out reforestation works, establishing forest cultures in the area of 315 ha for 431,638,661 AMD in 2012-2015.

 

The obligation of the supervision over the reforestation and care works was vested on RA Nature Protection Ministry and RA Agriculture Ministry.

 

According to the documents compiled by the officials of “ArmForest” SNCO in 2012-2015, in 2012-2015 within the frames of the aforementioned agreement, the SNCO employees checked the planting, fencing and agro-tech care works in the total area of 132 ha including three different sections in Vanadzor and Spitak forestry enterprises: these works were considered to be accomplished and “Teghout” CJSC transferred to “ArmForest” SNCO 114,580,000 AMD for the performance of these works.

 

Nevertheless, the monitoring carried out by “State Center for Forest Monitoring” SNCO on 4 September 2018 and on 9 April 2019 recorded that the significant part of the planted tree species in the abovementioned areas haven’t been preserved, the remaining part has completely got dry.

 

These circumstances show that the works envisaged in the contract have either not performed at all or have been performed partially.

 

Thus, the study showed that the responsible employees of “ArmForest” SNCO, using their official position against the interests of the service in 2012-2015 in the acts of work presented incorrect, misleading information  114,580,000 drams for deforestation, agrotechnical work, entailing serious consequences for the state.

 

And officials of the RA  Ministry of Nature Protection  and the RA Ministry of Agriculture as a result of dishonesty and negligence to the service in 2012-2015 failed to fulfill their supervision obligations entrusted to them, as a result of which there were serious consequences for the state.

 

According to the results of research in the Department of State Interests Protection of the RA Prosecutor General's Office , a criminal case has been initiated under p. 2  art.  308, p. 1 art.  314, p. 2 art.  315 of the RA Criminal Code.

 

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

 

In the framework of the criminal case, the fulfillment of functions assigned to several other state bodies will also be investigated in order to give a criminal-legal assessment of the actions of responsible officials.

 

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.