Monday, June 23, 2008

Stealing Armenia – How he did it!

Bruce Tasker has posted a summary of how a major chunk of the loans from World Bank and IMF were misappropriated by the Kocharian regime and some facts about the privatization of state assets (such as the sale of Sevan-Hradan power generation tunnels and power stations) where the sale price was grossly below the fair market value of these assets. I highly reccoment reading the whole article on Khosq.
[...] In 2004, Vahan Hovhanissian’s Parliamentary Commission found corruption estimated to be in the region of two hundred million dollars, a massive amount for Armenia which at the time had a state budget of about four hundred million. The problems were associated with the World Bank’s Municipal Development Project, designed to improve Yerevan’s water utility, and the ‘Government’s Integrated Finance Rehabilitation Plan’, a devious mechanism to eliminate hundreds of millions of dollars worth of old electricity debts, supported by the Bank and under IMF ‘Surveillance’.

The Commission concluded that the Bank and the IMF were clearly in cahoots with the Armenian authorities, depriving Armenia’s under-privileged of tens of millions of poverty reduction dollars and using them for state-backed profit-making activities, and illicitly transferring hundreds of millions of dollars worth of state assets to corrupt state cronies and their partners-in-crime.

Roger Robinson, the World Bank Country Manager at the time, initially reacted to the accusations with anger, but he later backed down and paid lip service to the claims. The IMF’s Permanent Representative in Armenia however had a more philosophical view of the affair. When asked: Should he not be stopping a One Hundred Million Dollar scam, as he was meant to do in accordance with his IMF technical assistance agreement? He replied ‘That depends”. When asked: On what does it depend? – He answered – “My Conscience”. [...]

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