20.03.2020 | Damage to the state in the amount of 150 million AMD with the use of criminal schemes for evading payment for the collection and use of wild plants and obtaining an export licenses

The Department of State Interests Protection of the RA Prosecutor General's Office examined the documents received from the RA Audit Chamber regarding the licenses for the export of certain types of wild plants. In order to ensure comprehensiveness and completeness of the studies, the necessary documents were also requested and received from the RA Ministry of Environment. As a result, the applied criminal scheme was found out under cconditions of negligence shown by officials of the state body.


In particular, it was found out that some legal entities - LLC, private entrepreneurs in order to evade payment and obtain a license for the export of wild plants during 2017-2018 presented to Bioresources Management Agency of the RA Ministry of Environment information received from the leaders of some communities of Ararat region and Armavir region- Jrarat, Mrgastan, Noramarg, Norashen, Berkashen, as well as purchase acts, purchase and sale agreements concluded with tenants or owners of individual land plots in the territory of these communities.


According to the statements, circumstances were allegedly established for the cultivation of glycyrrhiza, the purchase by legal entities of glycyrrhiza roots (from 40 to 100 tons) from the owners of land plots, and in some cases the availability of supply agreements up to 350 tons.


Meanwhile, as citizens with whom such agreements were allegedly concluded, presented written clarifications to the RA Audit Chamber that they generally have no land plots owned by lease or, in case of having land plots they have not sold anything, do not know such companies, have not signed purchase and sale agreement or acts of purchase or in their territories does not grow glycyrrhiza.


It was found out that back in May 2017 with a view to obtain export licenses, the Bioresources Management Agency of the RA Ministry of Environment, in fact having a legitimate doubt regarding the information provided by the entities, turned to the Ministry on the issue of carrying out supervision and control in the territories of the respective communities of Armavir Region of the Republic of Armenia.


However, having received an instruction from the Ministry for verification of the circumstances, the officials of the Environmental Protection Inspection Body of the RA Ministry of Environment did not fulfill their obligations to oversee the implementation of the requirements established for the import and export of wild plants and wild animals. In their turn, officials of the Bioresources Management Agency of the RA Ministry of Environment, having a reasonable doubt regarding the authenticity of the information provided, did not carry out actions aimed at establishing the authenticity of the information provided and issued export licenses based on the information that was not relevant to the reality. Meanwhile, under Article 10 of the RA Law “On Fundamentals of Administration and Administrative Proceedings”, if the administrative body has reasonable suspicions regarding the authenticity of the data and information presented by individuals, then he/she is obliged to independently and at his/her own expense take measures to verify their authenticity.


Thus, the responsible officials of the RA Ministry of Environment showed a careless and dishonest attitude towards the service, without checking documents certifying the purchase of the plant for export, they issued one-time export licenses. As a result, legal entities and private entrepreneurs without receiving permission from the competent authority to collect and use glycyrrhiza did not pay about 150 million. AMD.


Taking into account that in the course of the study, data were obtained containing obvious elements that entailed negligent grave consequences as a result of a careless or dishonest attitude to the service by an official while performing his/her duties in the Department of State Interests Protection of the RA Prosecutor General's Office a criminal case was initiated under Part 2 of Article 315 of the RA Criminal Code.


The preliminary investigation, by which will be established all the circumstances of the above processes and the actions of all involved circles, including economic entities that have caused damage to the state, will be given assessments was entrusted to the RA IC.


Notice: 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.