Dispute: Armenian MP accuses Control Chamber of bribery

The annual report 2009 of the Control Chamber of Armenia resulted in a scandal between the chamber and Republican MP Spartak Melikyan, who claims the Control Chamber demanded a bribe from him for not registering violations of law in the university belonging to him.

According to Melikyan, a 100 percent shareholder of the Anania Shirakatsi University, a Control Chamber representative demanded a $4,000 bribe from him in order not to include the university on the ‘blacklist’ of the Control Chamber, and said that everything had been agreed with the Control Chamber’s leadership.

In its report the Control Chamber harshly criticized the Anania Shirakatsi University along with a number of other higher educational institutions, after which Melikyan stated that the Control Chamber’s claims are baseless, and released the information about the bribe.

Meanwhile, Ishkhan Zaharyan, head of the Control Chamber, on Wednesday stated in the National Assembly that “everything, registered at the Anania Shirakatsi University, is absolutely true, sound and undeniable.”
Zakaryan has already turned to the court, seeking moral damages from the MP for insulting him.

Melikyan, in his turn, says that he will turn to the National Assembly “asking it to strip him of his parliamentary immunity, so that later no one would say that he obstructed the process of the examination and prevented it from being concluded.” He insists that he possesses evidence and is ready to publish it during a possible confrontation.

The bickering between the lawmaker and the head of the oversight body sparked more allegations by media and analysts that it is yet another display of struggle between the ruling Republican Party and its junior coalition partner, Prosperous Armenia, in the run-up to the 2012 parliamentary elections.

Varuzhan Hoktanyan, the head of Transparency International’s Armenian affiliate, Anti-Corruption Center NGO, told ArmeniaNow he viewed it as a positive development that a bribe issue had been raised. However, he added, it is necessary to establish the veracity of the claim.