YEREVAN, January 9. /ARKA/. More than 8,000 people have been quizzed by the Armenian police about power abuse by the social insurance fund’s officials, the police department’s press office reported today.
In particular, the fund’s officers as well as pensioners along with their relatives and neighbors have been questioned.
Charges have been laid against 53 people, 13 of which are now in police custody pending trial and two are wanted but still at large.
Vazgen Khachikyan, former head of the fund, is among those who have been arrested. He is charged with some counts of abuse of power, gross fraud and organized gross embezzlement.
Hovhannes Grigoryan, former chief of the labor and social affairs ministry’s state social security agency’s division in charge of payments, and Ashot Abrahamyan, chief the same agency’s pension unit, who have been arrested as well, are charged with abuse of power and gross fraud.
These offences have inflicted damage amounting to AMD 376.7 million (about $933,000) to the state. Of this amount, AMD 51.7 million ($129,000) has been returned to the budget.
The matter is divided into nine separate criminal cases against 28 suspects. Prosecutions against three of them were terminated because of an amnesty, and four had their cases dismissed as time-barred.
Police investigators continue scrutinizing pension-related offenses.
In December 2010, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan sacked Vazgen Khachikyan without revealing the reason of the dismissal. However, it became known from media reports that the Control Chamber has found out many abuses in the social insurance fund.
Since then the fund has been under intense scrutiny of the finance ministry’s inspectors, who detected many other offences here.
In particular, inspectors found a long list of already dead people or those who left Armenia long ago.-0-