Armenia For Sale: Opposition says Government acted illegally in selling off resources -
Armenianow - The Armenian parliament has adopted by first hearing the bill on changes and amendments to the law On State Property Administration, qualified by the four oppositional factions as anti-constitutional. The opposition forces say the Government is attempting to make the sale of Vorotan Hydro Power Plant and ArmRosGasProm Company’s remaining 20 percent stock look legal.
Last year a US-based Contour Global company purchased Vorotan complex of hydropower plants comprising of Spandaryan, Shamb and Tatev HPPs. This was the biggest American investment in Armenia. Oppositional Armenian National Congress (ANC) faction member Lyudmila Sargsyan says this sale is perceived as a “traditional kickback”. ANC faction leader Levon Zurabyan believes the deal was made with violations of the law and without the parliament consent.
The sale of ArmRosGasProm Company’s remaining 20 percent stock that still belonged to the Armenian side and the company’s handover to Russia is also seen by the opposition as an illegal deal, because it was state property and the Government did not have the parliament approval to sell.
“The government has violated the law. And one more important circumstance – that 20 percent of stock was the property of all of us, hence the government had no right to administer that 20 percent as a payback for private company expenses,” says ANC MP Aram Manukyan.
The oppositional law-makers say the government has no issues or difficulties in terms of state property because it has an overwhelming majority in the parliament who vote for any property privatization list.
Parliament speaker Hovik Abrahamyan says he will come back to the bill after the first hearing and, if necessary, public hearings will be held.
On March 24, the parliament finished discussing the controversial bill, by which the National Assembly’s approval for state property privatization would no longer be required. What this means is that after introducing the changes in the law the government, in effect, can quietly alienate entities of highest state importance, skipping public discussions, hence sparing itself from criticism.