YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–Armenia has sustained huge losses as a result of energy misappropriations in the last eight years–according to conclusions made by a National Assembly Ad Hoc Energy commission. Therefore–the group announced–the public must pay 25 drams per kilowatt of electricity today. The commission worked for three months to arrive at these conclusions and will report on the results of its further activities by May 5–2000–briefing every two months until then.
Commission chairman David Lokian of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation presented some facts in a television appearance on December 22. The commission found that 3500 tons of crude oil stored at the Hrazdan Therman Power Plant is "dead" crude oil and was sold for $25 per ton in 1997–in contrast to the $120 per ton the government had paid for this quantity.
The government incurred a loss of an estimated $1 million as a result of this misappropriation. Lokian said the Minister of Energy signed a decree on December 22 dismissing the Director of the Hrazdan power plant. Now law-enforcement bodies must step in–he said.
According to data presented by the commission–about 1.2 billion rubles were transferred to Russian organizations in advance for crude oil but no crude oil was ever delivered and the money was not returned.
Armenia imported crude oil in exchange for gold concentrate at a price of $250 per ton–whereas the average crude oil price was fluctuating between $80 and $90 at the time and the cost of quota crude oil was even lower.
"There is evidence of a whole circle of enormous crimes committed in 1993 and early 1994. A total of 156,000 tons of quota crude oil disappeared in Russia–this $30-$50 per ton crude oil could have be sold there at higher prices at that time. The Armenian government purchased crude oil through broker companies–which cost $170 per ton," said Lokian.
The inspection of crude oil imports in 1993 conducted at Armenergo revealed that the figures indicated in the relevant documen’s of the government–the energy ministry–the operative staff and the railroad department did not match. According to relevant documen’s–a Russian organization shipped 2,500 crude oil loads. The documen’s were registered by the railroad department–all necessary paymen’s were effected but no crude oil arrived. Lokian called groundless the idea that the crude oil might have been stuck in other countries where the roads were blocked. The checkups conducted by the commission revealed that over 120-130 loads had been lost in that case.
The commission revealed huge losses in the gas system. In particular–the meters of daily gas supplies to the Hrazdan power plant has serious mismatches.
The commission is examining the accumulation of a debt of $34 million to Turkmen’stan. This debt is to be repaid with interest by 2002.
"In 1997–President Levon Ter-Petrosyan–in fact–drew up that debt as national. And–of course–the mechanisms of drawing up that debt contained serious shortcomings: the National Assembly did not approve it and that was the first violation. Today–the commission seems to be close to disclosing the origin of this problem," said Lokian.
The commission believes that the system must get rid of people abusing their powers to ensure budget revenues and enforce the principle of compensation for misappropriated funds. It must become the priority of the Ad Hoc Commission–the National Assembly and the government. The people exposed as misappropriators of public funds and property must be punished by law.