One June 3, 2014, the Yerevan Municipality signed a deal with the Yerevan Cognac Factory to buy 28.8 million AMD (US$62,000) of the Armenian produced brandy.
While we do not know how bottles of brandy this amount translates into, we do know that the factory sold the municipality nine different types of brandy.
One brand sold, called Jubilee which is aged for ten years, was supplied to the municipality for the Yerevan 2796 celebrations.
Other brands obtained by the municipality included Erebuni (aged 25 years), Dvin (10 years), Nayri (20 years), Tonakan (15 years), Akhtamar (10 years) and Untir (7 years).
To drink the brandy, the municipality placed a 1.5 million AMD ($3,180) order with a company called Gaydlayn Ltd. for 15 gift sets of two silver inscribed drinking glasses. We don’t know if they were snifters.
That works out to 100,000 a set and 50,000 ($106) a glass.
But these aren’t the most expensive glasses purchased by the municipality.
On June 5, the municipality purchased three silver glasses adorned with semi-precious stones at 434,000 AMD ($918) a piece from Voske Margarit Ltd.
On December 2, the municipality purchased one additional similar glass from the same company for 470,000 AMD.
Hetq will shed light on some of the municipality’s more interesting expenditures in coming issues. In particular, we’ll be focusing on how many millions in taxpayer money the municipality has spent on gifts and on hosting delegations to the Yerevan-Erebuni festivities.
If the Yerevan Municipality believes it is being "accountable to the public" by telling residents how many fountains it has restored or building walls it has painted, it truly is doing a disservice to taxpayers.
To be truly transparent it should report on its internal expenditures and procurements and what companies it is doing business with.
Otherwise, the municipality’s much heralded “Being accountable to the people” initiative is nothing more than a PR campaign gone sour.