Wednesday, October 26 2016 17:50
Naira Badalian

CEO of "North-South Road Corridor Investment Program": There have been no abuses and misappropriations

CEO of "North-South Road Corridor Investment Program": There have  been no abuses and misappropriations

ArmInfo. Chief Executive Officer  of the "North-South Road Corridor Investment Program" SNCO Artur  Sargsyan assured that there have been no abuses and misappropriations  in construction activities of North-South transport corridor.

Arthur Sargsyan told journalists good news that quite recently, on  September 14, an official letter was received from the EU Commission,  according to which the North-South highway is considered a key road  of European Union TNT express. Sargsyan clarified that this means  that the EU is interested in the road opening by 2030, which in turn  means increase of the North-South project's investment ranking. Thus,  all the expenses made till today are justified and perspective,  according to the CEO. Touching upon the statement made by the new  Minister of Transport, Communications and IT on assessing the  efficiently of the program, Sargsyan stated that it is untimely to  apply to the Minister with such questions after a month from his  appointment. "He needs time to realize the situation", the expert  noted. 

According to Sargsyan, all the activities are being held according to  schedule. As for the information disseminated by mass media that a  criminal case has been initiated against contractor company, Sargsyan  stated that he does not know anything about a criminal case. "If you  mean the statement of tax bodies, it is still being discussed, as  Corsan Corviam Construccion does not admit accusations and has filed  reciprocal claim", he stated noting that the problem is in  disregarding deadlines of paying taxes, which is relevant for any LLC  in Armenia. At the same time Sargsyan stressed that this process no  way affected the construction activities.

On October 20 the Minister of Transport, Communication and  Information Technologies Vahan Martirosyan told journalists that the  ministry is assessing the efficiency of construction of the  North-South highway in the territory of Armenia. The Minister noted  that at the current stage the efficiency of both the highway  construction and the North- South project in general is being  assessed. He did not rule out possible replacement of the developer  company and revision of the construction period. "There will be no  abuse during my term in the minister's office, believe me," he said.  Martirosyan pointed out that there is no final conclusion about the  future of the project yet. "I think it is unreasonable to change  anything without conducting the relevant surveys. We are assessing  the efficiency of the project to understand how to continue the  implementation of the project or whether to continue it at all," he  said.

To recall, in July 2016, when commenting on the "delay of  construction of the Ashtarak-Talin section of the North- South  project," the then Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan said  that the Spanish construction company had become a real evil for the  North-South road corridor. He also stressed that there were problems  also with the Ararat section of the road, whose quality did not meet  the standards. "There are certain problems with this company,  according to the rumors, the funds were misappropriated, please check  into the matter", Abrahamyan instructed.  Meanwhile, information was  spread in mass media that because of Armenian "traditional  corruption" the Spanish company does not manage to conduct  construction activities and has decided to leave Armenia. According  to the rumors criminal case was initiated against the Spanish  company, the Finance Ministry of Armenia confirmed the information.   Preliminary investigation is underway. 

To note, the North-South 556km highway will be laid via the Armenian  towns of Meghri-Kapan-Goris- Yerevan- Ashtarak- Gyumri-Bavra and  enter the territory of Georgia on Akhaltsikhe-Batumi section, which  will settle some transport problems of Armenia.  This will be a  four-lane motorway of reinforced concrete extending from the Armenian  border and Iran to the Georgian port Batumi. The road corridor will  facilitate improving the road connection with the two neighbors of  Armenia: Iran and Georgia, providing access to international trade  routes and markets.  Armenia raised $500mln loan from the Asian  Development Bank for the project that is estimated at $1 billion.   Eurasian Development Bank is ready to provide $150 million.  Armenia  raised $60 million from the European investment Bank.  Due to the  project, the overland communication Europe-Caucasus-Asia will be  improved. The project will be completed by 2019. It will allow  Armenia to soften the consequences of the blockade by Azerbaijan and  Turkey and to join the Black Sea ring highway. Corsan Corvian Spanish  company has won the tenders for construction of the first sections of  the road, Chinese Sinohydro Corporation has won the tender for  construction of the Lanjik- Gyumri section in north of Armenia.

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