During a question and answer session in the National Assembly on December 6, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reflected on the recent controversy around the municipality.
Specifically, speaking about the cars given to the municipality by Samvel Aleksanyan and possible corruption manifestations, Pashinyan said: “The municipality has taken back a privatized kindergarten [from him] and returned it to the community. The Municipality of Yerevan has imposed a very large fine on a building owned by his family. The same person had a café near the Opera House, and that café was also in the list of dismantled cafes.”
The Fact Investigation Platform hereby provides details on the examples cited by the Prime Minister.
The kindergarten returned to the municipality
The kindergarten, located at 33 Leningradyan Ave was given to the Aleksanyan Family Charitable Non-Governmental Organization in 2008 for 50 years of gratuitous use. The territory of the kindergarten is about 4 thousand square meters.
In 2008, the NGO belonging to Aleksanyan applied to the municipality inquiring for the building of the kindergarten to be handed over to him, since renovations were being carried out in that area. Meanwhile, the organization was committed to providing the kindergarten with furniture and equipment, and to cover the cost of children’s meals.
The municipality had satisfied the organization’s request and the building had been handed over to the Aleksanyan Family NGO under a contract. Moreover, since December 2008, the activity of the kindergarten has been suspended and restarted under the new name “LusAstgh”.
In 2012, however, the kindergarten closed down for major renovations and was never opened again. Earlier this year, city authorities were discussing the issue of returning the kindergarten to the community.
On June 26, Hayk Marutyan touched upon this issue at a government session, saying:
“At the moment we have brought back what was possible. We have brought back one [kindergarten] in the Malatia-Sebastia district, which needs to be repaired and put into operation.”
There has been a lot of discussion lately about the suspension of this kindergarten and its activities.
Mayor Hayk Marutyan noted that this kindergarten will be among the list of buildings that were given back to the community because there were suspicious elements found in their operation.
That is to say, the kindergarten building was returned to the municipality because the organization owned by Aleksanyan, receiving the building for free, had not committed to its purpose.
The Dismantled café
Earlier this year, when the municipality began dismantling cafes near the Opera House, one of the cafes linked to Samvel Aleksanyan was also dismantled.
Victor Mnatsakanyan, the head of Kentron district at the time, told reporters that Samvel Aleksanyan had agreed to dismantle the café and had also promised to improve the area.
The thing is that the café owned by Samvel Alexanyan was in the area that was located in the area included in the project for the expansion of green spaces, so the dismantling of the café was nothing but a municipality project.
However, there was one nuance that couldn’t go unnoticed by the public. The name of a café that is located near the dismantled cafés but was not closed down is also linked with the name of Samvel Aleksanyan.
On fining Aleksanyan’s wife
The prime minister’s remark that a fine was imposed on Aleksanyan’s construction concerns the construction carried out by his wife, Shogherina Mkrtchyan.
According to a document provided by the Yerevan Municipality, Aleksanyan’s wife was brought to administrative responsibility for failing to finish construction work near Yerablur within the timeframe set out and continued it illegally. The fine amounted to about 9 million drams.
By the way, Yerevan mayor Hayk Marutyan also spoke about this in a recent interview.
On the other hand, however, on November 4, the municipality recognized legal another voluntary structure owned by Shogherina Mkrtchyan.
This building at 15 Ohanov Street is among the chain of supermarkets owned by Aleksanyans. The owner was obliged to pay 22 million drams to the municipality to have it legalized.