World Bank retaliates against Parliamentary Whistleblower

World Bank retaliates against Parliamentary Whistleblower

Friday, August 3, 2007

Vahan Hovanissian's Multi-Million Dollar Promise - Reneged

Throughout 2004, Armenia’s Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Mr. Vahan Hovhanissian, was the Head of a Parliamentary Commission and spent the year studying the World Bank financed Municipal Development Project and the Government’s Integrated Finance Rehabilitation Plan, which was supported by the World Bank and under the ‘Surveillance’ of the International Monetary Fund.

Mr. Hovhanissian secured the services of his personal ‘Whistleblower’ to manage the study processes, an ‘Individual’ from the international community who had lived in Armenia for ten years.

The study into the Municipal Development Project exposed wide-ranging fraud, corruption and embezzlement, to a value of considerably more than the 35 Million Dollar cost of the project.

The study into the Government’s Integrated Finance Rehabilitation Plan exposed embezzlement scams valued at many tens of millions of dollars.

Mr. Hovhanissian Promised to Report the full and final findings of his Commission studies to the People of Armenia and his Whistleblower agreed to report the facts to the World Bank Armenia Country Manager and to the International Monetary Fund’s Resident Representative in Armenia.

The Whistleblower carried out his duties as he had agreed and reported the facts in full detail. He reported a major scam of tens of millions of dollars to the Resident Representative of the International Monetary Fund and that led to the dismissal of Mr Merujian Michaelian, Deputy Minister of Finance & Economy.

But Mr. Hovhanissian turned his back on his Dashnaktutsiun Principles, preferring to strike allegiances with Armenia’s Political Powerhouses. Mr. Hovhanissian never told the facts to the Armenian People, so today the vast majority of Armenians continue to struggle with their every-day lives, whilst he and his new found friends and relatives wallow in their ill-gotten gains.

By January 2007, two years had passed since Vahan Hovhanissian reneged on his promise to the Armenian people. So this whistleblower applied to the Government Accountability Project in Washington, and gained their support for an application to the World Bank’s watchdog organization, the Department of Institutional Integrity; to request that they open an investigation into why the Bank had allowed such high levels of corruption to flourish in its projects - apparently unrestrained.

This Blog repeats that request to the Department of Institutional Integrity, to send a team of investigators to Armenia and study the details which were exposed by Vahan Hovhannissian’s Parliamentary Commission. It is hoped that the Department of Institutional Integrity will set an example to Mr. Hovhanissian and stand by its promise and that its team of investigators will be in Yerevan in the very near future.

But in the meantime, this Blog provides background information about this three-year saga, and will reveal all the facts, the documentation, the communications, and the events that occurred during and following Vahan Hovhanissian’s Parliamentary Commission studies.

Bruce Tasker

Senior Specialist

Armenian Parliamentary Commission

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