By Hakob Badalyan
Electric Networks of Armenia has sued three Armenian companies for their debts: Glendale Hills, Vanadzor Chemical Combine and Nairit. ENA claims repayment of their debts or announce bankruptcy.
A number of other big companies owe to ENA too but ENA has not stated anything about these yet. ENA owes billions to energy generating companies and other companies owe billions to ENA.
The increase in electricity price was supposed to be a solution and ENA would not sue the companies which have debts to ENA. However, something went wrong, and Baghramian movement thwarted the plan, and now it is not clear who and how will repay debts to ENA, as well as ENA has recalled and sued the companies which owe it. This is a deadlock and nobody wants to assume responsibility for that.
It has been announced that an Armenian-Russian agreement on audit in ENA has been achieved. Apparently, ENA hopes to prove that the problems are due to mismanagement in ENA and shift responsibility on the management of the company. The head of Inter RAO has announced that the reason is not mismanagement but the bad regulatory framework, the cause is in Armenia. PSRC has announced that the regulatory framework of Armenia is in line with international standards and there is no need to look for excuses instead of minding one’s own shortcomings.
However, the statement by Inter RAO is a “political hint” which means that the existing situation is not the consequence of theft in ENA but the theft in ENA is the consequence of the rules established by the Armenian government, and if the Armenian government had established rules of the game based on legislation, they would operate within the framework of these rules.
Hence, ENA has applied to court for the debts of Armenian companies. “Regulatory framework? OK, let there be regulatory framework,” ENA says to official Yerevan.
Meanwhile, the companies which owe to ENA are backed by representatives of the ruling criminal oligarchy. In other words, ENA comes up with a lawsuit against the criminal oligarchy, hinting that the suits may continue. If ENA starts demanding that the Armenian economy repay all its debts, Armenia may go broke. In addition, the economy owes ENA formally recorded and orally agreed debts. There are debts that have not been recorded officially but the companies owned by high-ranking officials have not paid their electricity bills or have paid partly only.
If ENA discloses all these debts, the Armenian criminal oligarchy will face default. The Russian side is pressing on the most painful spot of the Armenian economy, considering that the entire economy is a giant corruption scheme. As soon as a legal claim is made against this scheme, it will fall apart. ENA which is part of this scheme will also fall to pieces but it will not be a comfort for the criminal oligarchy. Moreover, ENA has an influential sponsor in Russia.
It is not ruled out that ENA’s lawsuit is somehow related to a possible process of selling the company, and the next potential buyer may have put forth a condition to return all the debts.
It is not ruled out that the Armenian government is thus “formalizing” the debt burden which Serzh Sarkisian assumed through its June 27 decision, and the burden will be paid by the companies that owe ENA.