Parliament Probe Cites ‘Millions of Dollars’ in Energy Damages

YEREVAN (RFE/RL)–Corruption–fraud and inefficiency in Armenia’s energy sector has cost Armenia "millions of dollars" over the last eight years–according to the preliminary report by an ad hoc parliament commission.

The report–unveiled in parliament on Wednesday–concluded that shady deals on fuel imports have filled the pockets of many senior officials at the expense of the downtrodden nation. However–it did not specify names of officials who may have benefited from the alleged widespread embezzlement of public funds. Nor did it sum up the amount of total damage inflicted on the Armenia’since 1992 when it was plunged into a three-year period of severe electricity rationing.

Armenian energy officials deny widespread mismanagement of the sector. But the report seeks to substantiate allegations that the previous governmen’s inflated figures about the volume of power generated in Armenia between 1992 and 1996. It also claims that a disproportionately high amount of fuel was spent on the production of one kilowatt/hour of electricity in the mid-1990s–which mean rising energy tariffs.

The multi-partisan commission also slammed terms of the government’s 1998 deal with Gazprom that gave the Russian monopoly control over Armenia’s gas infrastructure. The commission’s final report is expected in May.

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