11.08.2020 | Corruption schemes in the Social Assistance Services of Gyumri and the Committee of Medical and Social Expertise. The Prosecutor of Shirak Region applied to the Minister

The examination of the corruption cases recorded in the administrative territory of the region and the criminal cases initiated in the Prosecutor's Office of Shirak Region show that the corruption actions continue to have their place in the spheres of the Social Assistance Agency under the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs of the Republic of Armenia. Their main specification is that criminal harassment is committed against the most vulnerable groups, those who are included in the insecure family system, living in difficult financial state as well as socially vulnerable people who suffer from various diseases.


In particular, factual data was obtained in the scope of the criminal case that 5 specialists of the Territorial Social Assistance Division N 1 serving ​​about 4100 beneficiary families of Gyumri City, during March-June 2020 demanded bribe from a number of beneficiary families registered in their Territorial Division. Each of them received 30.000-60.000 AMD illegal payments, keeping some of it and the handing the other part to the head of the Division.


In addition, the employees of the same Division received a monthly sum of 18,000 AMD from the citizens to be allocated for 3 months, out of which 10,000 AMD was given to the Head of the Division and 8000 AMD was kept themselves for including socially vulnerable citizens in the social assistance program.


The head of the Division received 10,000-30,000 AMD in person or by the mediators also during May-June 2020 in order to include the beneficiaries in the Social Assistance System. The Head of the Division was charged under Article 311.1, Part 4, Point 2 of the RA Criminal Code for committing the above-mentioned alleged criminal actions and 5 employees were charged under various points of Part 3 of the same Article. Detention was chosen as a preventive measure against the Head of the Division.


Similar criminal actions have been disclosed in the Territorial Division N 2 of Social Assistance of Gyumri City regarding which criminal case is being investigated. Charges have been brought against the Head of the mentioned Division under Article 311.1, Part 3, Point 3 of the RA Criminal Code and against an employee under Part 3, Points 2, 3 of the same Article.


Factual data was obtained in the scope of the investigation of another criminal case that the Chairman of the Committee of Medical and Social Expertise N 1 of Shirak Region of the Agency of Medical and Social Examination of the RA Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs in order to recognize people as disabled during the medical-social examination during 2019 to 2020, received bribe from people applying for the expertise for committing illegal act in favor of the citizens for determining them as disabled people. He divided the received bribe into parts and gave the members of the committee at the end of the working day.  


The Chairman of the Committee and the two members were charged under Article 311, Part 2, Points 2 and 3 of the RA Criminal Code. Bail was applied to the Chairman of the Committee as a preventive measure.


The analysis shows that a well-developed corruption scheme worked in the past in the mentioned spheres, in which public servants, beneficiaries, officials, members of the Committee were involved.


However, though many people were involved in the above-mentioned criminal acts and a corruption scheme worked this circumstance was out of the sight of the competent entities with internal supervision functions. It can be assumed that the mentioned officials have been inconsistence and even applied inaction, which contains corruption risks and contributes to the commitment of crime.


Based on the above, Karen Gabrielyan, the Prosecutor of Shirak Region submitted a petition to Zaruhi Batoyan, the Minister of Labor and Social Affairs of the RA. The Prosecutor of the Region suggested undertaking effective measures to exclude such malicious and criminal phenomena, to find out the reasons of the mentioned violations, to discuss the issue of disciplinary action of those who have the power to supervise the activities of territorial divisions of social service as well as the Committees of Medical and Social Examination.