On March 22, 2018, the RA government approved the investment program and a proposal of alienation of a land plot submitted by Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan. However, as it turned out, the approved investment program does not actually exist, while the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the organization acquiring the land is Serzh Sargsyan.
Yerevan State University Alumni Association NGO had applied to the Municipality of Yerevan and expressed their interest in buying about 6.57 hectares of land in the intersection of Monte Melkonian and Leningradyan streets in Yerevan with a cadastral value to build multi-storey buildings and a kindergarten on the given land plot. These apartments are supposed to be provided to young university students on affordable terms.
The reasoning of the decision is that the settlement will have about 1,000 apartments, green recreation zones, a kindergarten, etc. The total investment cost of the project will make 52 billion drams, and about 2,400 jobs will be created in the next 3 years. The project will launch on April 1, 2018 and end on July 1, 2021. However, the government approved the application of a non-governmental organization implementing an investment program worth $ 108 million taking into consideration only the above-mentioned ambiguous information.
The lack of information concerned even the Minister of Economic Development and Investments Suren Karayan, who expressed his attitude in one of the documents attached to the government’s decision.
Addressing the Chief of Government Staff Vahe Stepanyan, Suren Karayan wrote:
“…At the same time, we inform that the above-mentioned draft does not describe the investment program submitted by the NGO, lacking appropriate calculation-justification, main expenditure items, as well as the source of the project’s funding. Therefore, we suggest you take into consideration the mentioned commentary.”
However, before writing this thought, Suren Karayan, apparently unwilling to oppose the project presented by the mayor, wrote that he had no objections.
One of the documents posted on the official website of the Ministry of Economic Development and Investments clearly provides in Armenian how the investment programs should be composed. The investment program should indicate the cost of the project, required investments, own investment, project repayment period, annual profitability of the investment program, offers to the investor, as well as the main expenditure items attached in a separate file, etc.
To put it simply, the investment program has been approved without an actual investment program. The official website of the Yerevan State University Alumni Association makes it clear why the government has approved this non-existent program. On the first page of that website, we see Serzh Sargsyan’s photos, while in the section About the NGO it turns out that the Chair of the Board of Trustees of the organization is Serzh Sargsyan.