On February 29 the court of general jurisdiction of Shirak region announced its ruling on the dispute of the founder of “GALA” TV company, “CHAP” LLC, and the Gyumri municipality. As it has been reported, after the audit at “Chap” LLC, made in October-November 2007, the RA State Tax Inspection announced violations reveled. In particular, in the opinion of tax officers, the founder of “GALA” had illegally used the TV tower, owned by Gyumri municipality. The owner of “CHAP” Vahan Khachatrian, on his behalf announced that the ownership certificate was received by Gyumri municipality only on November 5, 2007 and till that time, in 2004-2005, he kept addressing various agencies to find out who the owner of the tower was. According to Vahan Khachatrian, he started using the tower that had no owner in 2005, having previously renovated it and enhanced the transmitter. In November 2007 the Gyumri municipality addressed the RA Commercial Court demanding that “CHAP” LLC be obliged to stop the use of the city TV tower and the equipment installed there be dissembled. The attempts of the TV channel to solve the problem through negotiations remained futile. At the hearings that started on December 10 the RA Commercial Court declined the counter-claim of the respondent, with a demand to establish mandatorily its right to a limited use of a TV tower (mandatory servitude). This ruling was challenged by “CHAP” at the RA Court of Cassation, and a little later – with the higher jurisdiction body of the RA Commercial Court. On December 13 the hearings were interrupted until a response to the challenge is received. In mid-December 2007 another attempt of “CHAP” LLC to reach compromise with the municipality fell flat, because the city administration demanded to high a price for the tower rental (see details in YPC Weekly Newsletter, December 14-20, 2007).
“CHAP” LLC made also a demand of a mandatory servitude to the court of primary jurisdiction of Shirak region. On December 19, 2007, the court of primary jurisdiction refused to accept the suit of “CHAP” LLC, yet on January 12, 2008 this ruling was abolished by the RA Civil Court of Appeals (here and below the names of the courts are quoted in accordance with the judicial reform, implemented in Armenia in 2008 – Ed. note). As a result, both suits were unified into one case given for the consideration of the court of general jurisdiction of Shirak region.
The consideration of the case started on February 25. At the sessions of February 25, 26 and 28 the court refused a number of motions, made by “CHAP” LLC, also regarding the technical and construction assessment and presenting of a number of documents, confirming the municipal ownership of the TV tower. At the same time, the motions of examining the tower and its location were secured (the examination was made on February 27), as well as the motion of attaching the correspondence between “CHAP” LLC and the municipality regarding the tower rental terms to the case.
On February 29 the court of general jurisdiction of Shirak region announced its ruling, obliging “CHAP” LLC to stop the use of the city TV tower and dissemble the equipment installed there. As YPC was told at “GALA” TV company, “CHAP” LLC intends to challenge the ruling with a court of higher jurisdiction.