May 10, 2009
Stepanagert, NKR – On May 9, 2009 the Nargono-Karabagh office of state property, privatized the hospital found in the city of Martagert, which was built from funds donated by the All-Armenia Fund, Inc. which were collected during the 2005 Telethon as part of the Martakert Regional Development plan.
The deal was finalized behind closed doors, during a national holiday and was reported by reliable sources that the new owners include former president of NKR, Arkady Ghoukasian and former first lady of Armenia, Bella Kocharian, both of who own hospitals in the Republic of Armenia which were privatized under similar questionable deals.
The hospital was donated to the people of Martakert, who prior to the modern facility, were being treated in a hospital that was severely damaged from the war, suffering among others, aerial missile attacks and looting.
The NKR government justified the privatization the modern facility due to back taxes which were owed from as far back as 1970, the time when the original Soviet-era regional hospital was established.
The 2 million drams investment pledged by the new owners to be paid out over the next 50 years, include $750 which will pay all back taxes.
During a protest to appose the sale of the Martakert hospital, one protester, a veteran of the Artsakh liberation war said, “It’s very sad for me to see such a beautiful hospital which was intended as a gift from our bothers and sisters in America to fall into the hands of criminals who have no interest in helping the people and are only interested in getting rich from our misfortunes.”
The deal resembles the $5 million cold storage facility donated by the AGBU following the 1988 Armenia earthquake, which was privatized to high ranking official due to back taxes, as well as the main Yerevan general hospital which in 2005 was privatized by a group of officials, including former president of NKR Arkady Ghoukasian, ignoring a formal protest from the Japanese government who had donated million of dollars of equipment to said hospital.