Saturday, November 26 2016 12:54
Naira Badalian

Gagik Beglaryan rules out any abuse in implementation of North-South Road Corridor Investment Program

Gagik Beglaryan rules out any abuse in implementation of North-South  Road Corridor Investment Program

ArmInfo. On November 26, Gagik  Beglaryan, ex-minister of transport and communication of Armenia,  told reporters that there has been no abuse or misappropriations in  the course of implementation of the North-South Road Corridor  Investment Program.  

He said that if due to the complains about the quality of operations  the Armenian Government transfers back to the state budget only 7 mln  USD out of the 80 mln USD, this means that there has been no abuse  here.   

When replying to the journalists' remark that even the incumbent  Transport Minister Vahan Martirosyan has spoken about abuse in the  course of construction, Baglaryan urged the media to look for no  intrigue here. "I have heard what Minister Martirosyan said. He said  that the former minister worked conscientiously," Beglaryan said. 

To recall, on October 20 the incumbent Armenian Minister of  Transport, Communication and Information Technologies Vahan  Martirosyan told reporters that the Ministry was assessing the  efficiency of construction of the North-South highway in the  territory of Armenia. He noted that at the current stage the  efficiency of both the highway construction and the North- South  project in general is being assessed. He does 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.   

To note, 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.  After the session of the Government,  Deputy Minister of Transport and Communications Artur Arakelyan told  journalists that Spanish company Corsan Corviam had already been  fined for the improper quality of the construction work.  Based on  the results of the inspection, certain divergences were registered,  which were envisaged by the agreement. As a result, the company was  fined at 6 mln USD from the total 70 mln USD to be paid for the  claims related to the quality of the conducted work within Tranche 1  from Yerevan to Artashat and Ashtarak. "However, there are no reasons  to dissolve the agreement with the company", the deputy minister  stated. 

Meanwhile, according to the media reports, the Spanish company is  unable to carry out the construction of the North- South highway due  to the "Armenian traditional" corruption, and the company has decided  to leave Armenia. A criminal case was instituted against the Spanish  company and the Armenian Finance Ministry has confirmed this  information, saying that "on October 2014, a criminal case was  initiated based on Article 205.2 of the Armenian Criminal Code over  tax evasion by the Armenian Branch of CORSAN-CORVIAM CONSTRUCCION.   The case has no specific defendants. Pretrial investigation is  underway".     

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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