Thursday, August 09, 2007

Wasting money in Armenia.

That governments can be corrupt, inefficient and wasteful is not a secret to anyone except for the most optimistic people. Even democracies like Switzerland and other lesser ones in the West are not insured from such ills. In my town in the US millions of dollars get wasted on pet projects that are mismanaged - be it Republicans or the Democrats who initiate these projects.

One area ripe for corruption is the intergovernmental landing. You have the IMF and the World Bank that lend money to developing nations to implement projects that are meant to improve the economies of these nations. It all sounds great on paper but the reality is quite different. A lot of the money is spent on Western 'consultants', and whatever is left over, goes into the pockets of government officials through shady deals with local contractors.

Armenia is not immune to this either. With foreign debt over 1 billion dollars and growing, one would expect to see some infrastructure improvements. After all, the country is tiny and doesn't take much to improve a piece of land inhabited with 2.5-3 million people. But it hasn't happened. There have been some reports about wasted loans, and the complacency of government officials, including the dashnaks (who, incidentally, trumpet their anti-corruption policies any chance they get).

Garbis at Notes From Hairenik has a nice recap of the revelations.

There has finally been an allegation printed in online media outlets about overly bureaucratic international organizations working in some capacity in Armenia being involved in corruption. The first break in the news of the scandal appeared on Onnik’s blog over a week ago. And Hetq Online is apparently the only the online news source that published an article in Armenian about the issue this week—it may appear in English soon.

Onnik at Oneworld Multimedia updates the story developments more frequently.


Onnik Krikorian said...

It's worth pointing out that the full allegations are being posted by the whistleblower himself at:

nazarian said...

Excellent. Thanks.