Armenia: Former Health Minister’s Family Benefits From State Contracts

Contracts valued at 63 million AMD (US$ 130,773) were given to a company owned by the son of a former health minister, according to a journalistic investigation that has sparked a row over nepotism.

Derenik Dumanyan Investigative journalism group HETQ report that Hrant Dumanyan, son of former Minister for Health Derenik Dumanyan, is the sole owner of Bianco Dental Clinic, the company awarded a government contract for dental services.

The director of the Bianco dental facility is a relative of Derenik Dumanyan’s wife. His other son, Artour Dumanyan, is also affiliated with the company.

The lucrative contracts were awarded in February of 2013, 2014, and 2015, totaling 63 million AMD in taxpayers’ money. Some of these contracts were awarded during the time period in which Derenik Dumanyan was serving as the Minister of Health. They were for dental health care services provided for adults and children, and preventive dental services for children.

HETQ also found that Gurgen Dumanyan, the eldest son of Derenik Dumanyan, owns 10 percent of Fauna Zoological Garden. 70 percent of this company is owned by Artur Khachatryan, a figure connected with the illegal trade of endangered species in Armenia.

Derenik Dumanyan’s wife, Anahit, at one time owned 25 percent of tourism company Yan Voyage, which was granted an air services contract by the government in 2013.

Transparency International has called corruption in Armenia “endemic” citing an overlap between government officials and business elites that causes “a lack of clear separation between private enterprise and public office”.