Corruption Poses National Security Threat

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The chairman of the parliamentary commission on defense and national security–Vahan Hovanessian stated Wednesday that rampant corruption in Armenia is not only an economic matter–but a national security threat to Armenia.

Speaking at a hearing on legislation to combat corruption–Hovanessian said that his commission is prepared to assist the government with any anti-corruption measures–adding that the authorities during the Vazgen Sargsyan cabinet had already begun steps to rid the country of corrupt elemen’s.

"We must begin to put forth a comprehensive program and until we are able to create an atmosphere where receiving and giving bribes ends–we will not reach our goals," said Hovanessian.

Hovanessian went on to say that corruption was rampant in Armenia judiciary–customs and internal revenue departmen’s–as well as the army.

Attending the parliamentary hearing were Armenia minister of regional government and chairman of the Constitutional Court–as well as the ministers of national security–interior–economy and internal revenue.

In his presentation Hovanessian said that inability of the government apparatus–as well as a weakened society contribute to the continuation of corruption in Armenia.

A war against corruption–said Hovanessian–cannot be won through one law. A series of comprehensive laws are needed. He added that the biggest threat to Armenia’s national security was corruption–yet there are no laws which outline the powers and responsibilities of government officials.

Every government official is free to interpret the laws as he/she see fit. This–Hovanessian explained–also contribute to weaknesses in the judiciary.

The commission chairman also said corruption flourishes in Armenia due to an unrealistic budget–non-budgetary funds and the violations of norms in competition.

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