In 2014, 180 million dram of Yerevan taxpayer money was allocated for putting on the capital’s anniversary celebratory events (Erebuni-Yerevan 2796) held from October 11-12.
The budget to celebrate the holiday of Armenia's capital decreased 20 million dram from the previous year (200 million dram in 2013).
Yerevan’s authorities justified the expenditures. The municipality spent 50 million dram alone on gifts for needy families, such as refrigerators, televisions, washing machines and computers. Another 18 million dram was spent on decorating the city for the holiday. Deputy Mayor Aram Sukiasyan confirmed these figures during a press conference held at the end of September 2014.
According to Aysor.am, Yerevan’s Information and Public Relations Department Chief Arthur Gevorgyan spent 6 million dram alone on organizing the “Yerevan 2025: Old City, New Perspectives” international conference held on October 10, 2014.
The Yerevan municipality also covered the hospitality and accommodation expenses of 34 official delegations participating in the “Erebuni-Yerevan 2796” celebrations.
The municipality did not announce a call for tenders from service providers. Hetq received 13 contracts provided by the municipality, all of which were signed from October 3-9, 2014. Only three of the contracts specify the home country of the delegations – Stepanakert (Artsakh), Moscow and Khanty-Mansiysk (Russia).
The municipality paid 2.87 million dram to the company Huys-96 to provide hospitality services to a delegation from Moscow. The contract stipulated that the venue be well-lit and spacious, classical music be played, and that the meal include three meat dishes, national dishes, several kinds of fish, red and black caviar, six kinds of cheese and two different colored olives. 20-year-old Nairi Armenian brandy was another demand.
Another contract for 1.95 million dram was signed with Armkompiner LLC to provide hospitality services for the delegation from Khanty-Mansiysk, the details of which are unknown.
Hospitality and reception service contracts were signed without competition with the following companies: Yeraz LLC, 2.75 million dram; Hatisi Lunch LLC, 2.2 million dram and individual proprietor Nareg Haroutunyan, 1.57 million.
Contracts were also signed with catering and hospitality service companies such as Frize (1.89 million dram), Viktoria Concern (2 million dram), MarARM (644,000 dram) and Haghtanak 2000 (1.76 million dram).
Taxi Prestige LLC won the tender for transportation services provided for October 9-14, amounting to 1.8 million dram. This same taxi service received a stern warning from the State Commission for the Protection of Economic Competition in December 2013 for providing inadequate service.
A contract for 5.53 million dram was signed with Grand Palace Hotel, along with Veratsnund Hayrapetyan LLC for 2.4 million dram and Hrazdan Hotel for 220,000 dram.
All in all, the Yerevan municipality paid 28 million dram, or $67,000, to entities that won tenders without open competition for hospitality, reception and accommodation services provided during “Erebuni-Yerevan 2796.”
Photo caption: Yerevan Mayor Taron Margaryan (left) with Khanty-Mansiysk Mayor Vasily Filipenko