Embezzlement at the NGO State Support Agency? Why is everyone trying to snatch something from the state?

In a startling revelation, an audio recording purportedly featuring Aygyun Aliyeva, the Executive Director of the Agency for State Support of Non-Governmental Organizations, has been circulated, igniting accusations of corruption within Azerbaijani government agencies.

The recording, shared on Facebook by Matanat Jafarova, a member of the Public Council at the Ministry of Internal Affairs, alleges that embezzlement amounting to half a million dollars could be detected within the agency if properly investigated. In the recording, Aliyeva is heard expressing the difficulty of controlling funds and suggests that embezzlement is rampant, stating, "No matter how you check, the NGO has always 'kicked' money out of there. That is, it is impossible without it, it lives by it."

Despite these damning allegations, Aygyun Aliyeva declined to provide a comment on the audio recording, further fueling speculation surrounding the veracity of the claims.

Zohrab Ismail, head of the Open Azerbaijan Initiative, spoke on this issue in the "Difficult Issue" program, emphasizing the widespread nature of corruption in Azerbaijani government structures. Ismail underscored the lack of transparency and oversight mechanisms, attributing the prevalence of corruption to inadequate controls and reporting systems. He emphasized that accountability measures are often triggered only in response to specific signals or incidents, rather than proactive monitoring.

Moreover, Ismail criticized the government's anti-corruption efforts, citing deficiencies in the existing framework. He pointed out the absence of independent anti-corruption structures, such as anti-corruption prosecutor's offices and courts, which are prevalent in Western countries with successful anti-corruption initiatives. Ismail lamented the lack of visible progress in combating corruption, attributing it to ineffective measures and a lack of political will.

In reference to the government's anti-corruption program, Ismail highlighted the failure to produce annual reports on the program's implementation, despite a decree mandating such reports. He characterized the program as a superficial gesture, motivated more by international pressure than genuine commitment to combating corruption.

The allegations of embezzlement and systemic corruption within Azerbaijani government agencies underscore the urgent need for comprehensive reform and enhanced accountability mechanisms. As Azerbaijan grapples with the challenge of rooting out corruption, the efficacy of its anti-corruption efforts will be closely scrutinized both domestically and internationally. Only through concerted action and a commitment to transparency can Azerbaijan restore public trust and ensure the responsible stewardship of public resources.

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