Cases of Systematic Receipt of Illegal Remuneration from Beneficiaries by Employees of Territorial Departments of Social Assistance of Gyumri City Detected
As a result of complex operative-search measures taken by the RA National Security Service, factual data were obtained that A. Ye. and E. B., heads of No. 1 and No. 2 territorial departments of social assistance serving in Gyumri city, by prior agreement with their subordinates, for years personally or through various intermediaries, by means of extortion demanded and received illegal payments from socially vulnerable citizens.
On 30 June 2020, at 10:30 a.m., A. H., an employee of the territorial department, was found and brought in immediately after handing over the next 100,000 AMD to the head of the department A.Ye., collected from socially vulnerable citizens or those in need of assistance. As a result of the personal search of A. Ye., the subject of illegal payment -100,000 AMD was found.
In connection with the incident criminal cases were initiated on 30 June, 2020, in the Investigation Department of the RA NSS on the grounds of the elements of crime under Article 311.1, Part 3, Clauses 1, 2, 3 of the RA Criminal Code, and Article 312.1, Part 1 of the RA Criminal Code.
As a result of large-scale investigative-procedural and operational- search measures undertaken in the criminal cases, it was established that over the years, up to 30April, 2020, a group of employees of territorial departments of social assistance, by prior agreement, launched a previously developed corruption scheme, in this way extorted the money provided by the state as assistance to the socially vulnerable groups, or in exchange for illegal payment allocated to not needy or not socially vulnerable families.
During the preliminary investigation, it was established that the employees of the aforementioned social assistance departments, while completing each documentation, demanded and received illegal payments of 30,000-60,000 AMD from the beneficiary families registered in their territorial division, part of which they kept to themselves and the other part gave to the leaders.
In the same way, in order to include socially vulnerable citizens in social assistance programs, public servants who are not officials received 18,000 AMD for 1 month from citizens out of the sums allocated for 3 months, of which 10,000 AMD were given to the head of the department, and 8,000 AMD were kept to themselves.
During the preliminary investigation, searches were carried out in the apartments and offices of several dozen employees, as a result of which notebooks with entries containing the data of citizens who illegally paid public servants for receiving social assistance, banknotes collected from citizens subject of illegal payments, records containing personal details of persons receiving social assistance and telephone numbers were found.
A number of citizens having provided illegal payments were found and interrogated, who admitted receiving benefits and providing illegal payments to the heads of the territorial social assistance departments or their employees in exchange for receiving benefits or involvement in relevant support programs for several months or years, indicated the amount given each time.
Moreover, in their testimony, the citizens indicated that the collection of sums was massive, and without those illegal payments, they could not even legally receive benefits or participate in social assistance programs available to them.
During the preliminary investigation, six employees of the territorial departments of social assistance, including the head of the department and chief specialists, were detained based on the direct suspicion of committing a crime. For more than a dozen employees, written undertaking not to leave the place has been chosen as a measure of restraint.
Most of the employees involved in criminal cases as suspects, under pressure of irrefutable factual data, gave self-confessed testimonies and described the details of the corruption mechanism used in their territorial department for years, the personal data of citizens who demanded illegal payments, the amount of monthly income received in a criminal way and ways of managing and distributing these amounts.
Urgent investigative and other procedural actions and operative-search measures are being taken to detect the whole circle of persons involved in the commitment of the crime, to establish the identities of other citizens who provided illegal payments, to determine the size of the real amount of the damage caused to the state.
The National Security Service of the Republic of Armenia calls on to immediately inform the law enforcement bodies in case of a demand, receipt of illegal payment or other illegal actions by public servants.
At the same time, it is reported that according to Article 312.1 of the RA Criminal Code, a person, giving an illegal payment is exempted from criminal liability, if there was an extortion of illegal payment, and the person, before the criminal prosecution authorities learned about the provision of an illegal payment, no later than within three days after the commission of the crime, voluntarily notified the criminal prosecution authorities and assisted in solving the crime.
Note: The suspect or accused of an alleged crime is considered innocent as long as his/her guilt is not proven in a manner prescribed by the Code of Criminal Procedure of RA - by the court decision entered into legal force.