Parliament Commission Begins Energy Corruption Probe

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–An ad hoc commission–formed recently by the parliament to probe long-standing allegations about a massive embezzlement of public funds in the energy sector by former government officials–has adopted a plan of actions–its chairman’said on Tuesday.

David Lokian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation told RFE/RL that during their first meeting on Monday–members of the multi-partisan body agreed to conduct a thorough and objective investigation.

Opposition parties and notably the National Democratic Union have alleged that millions of dollars allocated for the purchase of energy resources in 1992-95 were diverted into the pockets of corrupt officials. They claim that this and not the Azeri blockade was the main reason for the severe rationing of electricity at the time. Energy officials say the amount of power generated in Armenia during the shortages and at present is approximately the same–fueling accusations of fraud.

Lokian said his commission will look into official documen’s that indicate sources of fuel procurement and ways of their transportation to Armenia. In particular–they will study supplies agreemen’s with Russia and Turkmen’stan and appropriate customs documen’s–he said. "I am confident that the president and prime minister of the republic will do everything to help establish what really happened in that period," Lokian said.

However–prominent NDU lawmaker Arshak Sadoyan–who has championed the corruption accusations–cast doubt on Lokian’s seriousness of purpose citing the latter’s party affiliation. He indicated that ARF’s support of President Robert Kocharian could make it reluctant to disclose scandalous facts implicating former officials close to Kocharian.

The commission on Monday asked Prime Minister Vazgen Sargsyan to ensure that all government members cooperate with the investigation.

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