Court Was Unable to Get Response from Azersu on Cost of Meter Installation
On Friday, February 10, the ninth session of the court was held in the first Baku Administrative-Economic Court at the suit of Turan Information Agency against the state-owned JSC Azersu.
At the meeting, the written reply of the Deputy Chairman of Azersu Seymour Seyidov to an information request from Turan IA of August 30, 2016 in connection with the installation of water measuring meters was read out.
The answer touched the 6th and 7th of the final issues of the request for information:
6. At what price were the counters (mechanical and smart) bought before March 29, 2016?
7. What is the cost of installing a counter, and what is the estimate of the work?
On the sixth question the answer was: the price of counters purchased before 29 March 2016 did not change. Asked by the Director of Turan IA Mehman Aliyev how the past price could ever remain unchanged against the present one, the representative of Azersu could not answer clearly. Aliyev stated that he demanded to clearly indicate the prices and therefore he considered that JSC Azersu evaded the answer.
The seventh question was also not answered. The response was a list of materials used for the installation of meters, without specifying the prices of materials or the estimated cost of works. Aliyev did not accept this answer, either.
He called the judge Sharafat Mammadova to require the respondent to give a complete answer to the questions raised by the information request.
Ultimately, the judge made a decision to refuse the information request on the 6th and 7th issues and to cancel five issues of the requirements, to which replies were received during the trial. The judge also denied making a special determination to JSC Azersu and application of the penalty, as urged by the agency.
Mehman Aliyev said he did not agree with the verdict of the court and after receiving the formal judgment, he intends to challenge it in the Court of Appeal.
The process of getting a response from Azersu to the agency’s request for information has been lasting for five months. The law "On freedom of information" requires the respondent to respond within 7 (seven) business days.
The information inquiry was sent after it became known that Azersu bought meters at high prices for the funds allocated by the presidential order on March 29, 2016. The agency believes that the price of meters and installation work is overestimated by 5-10 times. Thus, with the allocated 12 million AZN Azersu bought 50.000 meters at 5.5 million manat and another 6.5 million AZN is planned to be spent on construction works. It should also be noted that Azersu has broken a three-year state program on the 100% implementation of the counters in the country in 2006-2009. The company reported that by January 1, 2017for 1,342,248 subscribers of the "population" category were installed 897,350 or 66.9% of meters. For another 58775 subscribers of "uninhabited" group were installed 48,223 meters, or 82%.
It is strange that after the completion of the state program Azersu regularly received new funds for the installation of meters, though, that none of the controlling state structures was interested in the irrational use of these funds. —0--