27.08.2020 | Corruption abuses during excavations in the "Tombs of the Armenian Kings of Aghdzk and the surrounding area"

On the basis of the documents received from the RA Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sports, the Department for the Protection of State Interests of the RA Prosecutor General's Office studied the process of spending state funds allocated for excavations in the "Tombs of the Armenian Kings of Aghdzk and the surrounding area ".


It was found out that in order to carry out excavations in the tombs of the Armenian Kings of Agdzk and the surrounding area under an agreement dated 30.01.2018 the RA Ministry of Culture allocated a subsidy of 15 million AMD for the Historical and Cultural Heritage Center SNCO.


Practically during the same period, the State Science Committee of the RA Ministry of Education and Science allocated a grant for SNCO in the amount of 12 million AMD under the relevant agreement.


On the basis of this, the director of the SNCO, within the framework of the program “Study of the tombs of Armenian Kings”, set a monthly salary for 6 persons and 3 of them were sent on a business trip to Aaragatsotn region to carry out excavations and conduct studies.


It was found out that, despite the fact that the interdepartmental archaeological commission gave a positive conclusion to the scientific report of the SNCO for May 29, 2018, and the SNCO only in June 2018 submitted an application to the Agency for the Protection of Historical and Cultural Monuments of the Republic of Armenia for permission to excavate, and based on this 15.06.2018 SNCO received the permission. In addition to that, according to the available documents, no excavations were carried out on the territory of the Aghdzk monument in May and June.


In fact, the responsible officials of the SNCO, ignoring the circumstance of not granting permission for excavation from April to June 2018, as well as the fact that actual excavations were not carried out during the specified period, drew up false documents that did not correspond to reality and stole about 9.000 AMD from the state budget.


During the study, it was found out that the daily allowance was paid without supporting documents. And the circumstance of providing 15 l. petrol per day for business trips proves that the employees returned to their main place of work on the specified day, and in such conditions the payment for the daily allowance should not be performed.


In addition to that, as a result of an internal audit conducted by the Ministry of Education and Science in SNCO, it was found out that during 2015-2018 11.6 million AMD from the state budget were directed to business trips, car rentals. At the same time, the internal audit considered the efficiency of the excavation process to be problematic due to the lack of appropriate specialists in the working group.


Thus, the responsible officials of the committee and the ministry, ignoring the discrepancy between the actual costs of the excavation, instead of returning the 11.6 million AMD allocated for the excavations to the state budget, directed this amount for the transportation and business trips of the participants, despite the fact that for this funds have already been allocated. In addition to this, in the context of the involvement of inappropriate specialists, the work carried out by the SNCO was considered as a duly fulfilled obligation, thus causing damage to the state.


Based on the data obtained in the course of the study in the Department for the Protection of State Interests of the RA Prosecutor General's Office under Point 1 of Part 3 of Art. 179, Part 2 of Art. 308 and Part 1 of Art. 314 of the RA Criminal Code a criminal case was initiated.


The preliminary investigation of the case was instructed 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.