Armenia’s much-touted anti-corruption initiative has gotten off to a less-than-ideal start: leading government members of the body intended to root out graft are bogged down by questions about their own spending habits and sources of income.
The driving force in the latest Armenian government effort to promote honest administration and sound business practices is the Anti-Corruption Council, which formally kicked off its activities on July 28. The council is supposed to comprise top officials, as well as opposition and civil society members. But so far, no opposition or non-governmental organization representative has joined the body, due primarily to widespread skepticism about its ability to catalyze reforms.
In 2014, watchdog Transparency International reported that the South Caucasus nation ranked 94th out of the 175 countries surveyed for perceptions of public-sector corruption. The Armenian government has long condemned graft, but has not shown an eagerness to investigate or prosecute senior officials for possible misdeeds.
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Marianna Grigoryan is a freelance reporter based in Yerevan and editor of MediaLab.am.