Former head of Imishli District Executive Authority Vilyam Hajiyev

Former head of Imishli District Executive Authority Vilyam Hajiyev

Last month, when the Azerbaijani public was excited by the story of a schoolgirl in Lenkaran beaten by the deputy head of the executive power of this region Rasilya Aliyeva, a group of human rights defenders went there from Baku. One of them, a member of the Public Council of the Ministry of Education, Gunel  Safarova, then shared on a social network what she saw in the Lenkaran region: the executive power organized work with the population formally, local and regional authorities are so far removed from the people that they seem to exist in a parallel reality. The problem at the first stage could be solved by Public Councils, but they are recruited from people close to the heads of the region, - G.Safarova reported.

Rasilya Aliyeva was fired only after the story of the beating of a schoolgirl was made public, but in the years when she held the Lenkaran region in her tough hands, local residents wrote in Baku that it was impossible for this official to find a job in the region without permission and bribes. If there had been a correct reaction to these complaints in the capital then, the Lenkaran region would not have become famous for the sadism of the deputy head of the executive power.

Corruption and anarchy in the region executive power were repeatedly discussed. After each exposure and arrest of the head of the region, the society is shocked by the audacity of the local chief taking bribes in the office under the portrait of Heydar Aliyev. It comes to black humor: the former head of the Imishli region police department, William Hajiyev, who was recently sentenced to a long term of imprisonment, openly offered the state to pay off by giving 6 million manats to the state budget.

However, nothing is changing, the uncontrolled corrupt rule of the heads of executive power continues in all Azerbaijani urban and rural areas. How do they do this if the entire local economy is private, region state organizations are subordinated to the capital's Ministries, and the law enforcement agencies have very limited powers in line with the last year's decree on the establishment of the institute of regional representatives of the president?

Turan talked with a former employee of the executive branch of one of the central regions of the country. The pensioner refuses to give his first and last name, as his children and relatives serve in Baku, and he fears for his life. What the former employee said is confirmed by publications in the Azerbaijani media. Carefully reading the speeches of President Ilham Aliyev, you can find many interesting revelations confirming the words of the pensioner.

No matter how the powers of the heads of local executive bodies are limited in Baku, but in reality, using informal levers of pressure, the heads of regions remain local sultans, fearing only the wrath of the President. All local law enforcement agencies are tightly controlled by the heads of regions being dependent upon them by corruption schemes.

In accord with the same schemes the employees of the apparatus are linked with their head of the region. The press reported how Vagif Jabbarov, a former rural representative of the Lerik region, complained to the Prosecutor General about Rovshan Bagirov, the head of the Lerik region, who extorted a bribe from Jabbarov for retaining his position. He did not give money and was fired for stubbornness. It is a rare case when, after a complaint to Prosecutor General Zakir Garalov, an official was reinstated. Jabbarov submitted to the Prosecutor General a telephone recording of a conversation with the head of the region. In May, R. Bagirov was dismissed from his post.

This case shows the importance of intra-apparatus discipline in the work of the corruption machine of region's rulers. Without blindly obeying the head of the officials of the apparatus, sending telephone instructions to the places about collecting money and personally handing over corruption charges to the head of the district, the heads of regions could not act. Therefore, it is surprising that with the imprisonment of the head of the executive power, all employees of the executive apparatus are not dismissed from their posts there. This corrupt apparatus is then inherited by the newly appointed head of the region, so the mechanism operates as before.

There is no other system of government in the region: municipalities are inactive, engaged in fulfilling the instructions of the head of the executive power, and the regional representatives of the President have not yet shown their effective power. The informal regional rulers continue to be the highest state officials, among whom the entire economy in the regions is divided, each of which unites several regions.

A simple and common way of enriching the heads of the executive power is the appropriation of budget funds released from Baku for the improvement of the district center. The financing of landscaping works, the installation of curbs, the construction of parks and even sculptures to political figures are entrusted by the heads to local businessmen. There is even a case when in one of the regions the creation of a sculpture of Zarifa Aliyeva was entrusted by the head of the executive power to a businessman. He paid for the work of the sculptor; however, the head of the region did not like the work, and he demanded to sculpt a new sculpture. The businessman had to sell his land plot to pay for the whim of the region ruler.

We found confirmation of our source's words in the press. It was reported how the head of Agdam, Nizami Sadigov, forces Agdam residents to collect money for him for any reason, and even came up with collecting money for the holiday "Gurtulush Day".

According to other information, the head of the Guba region, Mubariz Agayev, forced local entrepreneurs to pay for the construction of the Aliyev Park.

This is what happens in reality, and according to the documents, the head of the executive power draws up a contract for landscaping works with a local construction company and transfers budget funds to it through the bank. However, since these companies always belong to businessmen, relatives or close friends of the head of the executive power, then a part of the money transferred to the company is cashed out and transferred personally into the hands of the head of the region. Other businessmen do not receive contracts for the performance of work from the head of the region, so 1-2 construction companies operate in each region," our trusted source explained to Turan.

Land is always getting more expensive, so buying large plots of land with corrupt money in order to sell these plots to construction companies (in cities) and agricultural parks (in rural areas) in the future remains a lucrative area of illegal income. The press reported about such a scheme in the Khatai district of Baku.

It is especially profitable to buy plots from poor peasants who received land during the denationalization of Soviet territories. Peasants cannot use these plots for effective agriculture due to the lack of initial capital, and are forced to sell to figureheads acting on the instructions of the head of the executive power.

In resort areas, hotels belonging to major officials are subsequently built on these sites. In other regions, unaccounted-for agricultural production is organized on such lands, all the profits of which settle in the pocket of the head of the region. With the creation of a network of state agricultural parks, concealed latifundists were able to lease their lands to the state.

A similar scheme operates with the acquisition by people of the head of the region of industrial and commercial enterprises in the territory subordinated to the head. As the press reported, the former head of the Shamkir region Alimpasha Mammadov issued LLC acquired in various ways in the name of his son, paying the owners symbolic amounts (40 manat for an enterprise worth 2 million 844.000 manats, 180 manats for a company worth 967.000 manats at the market, - reported the State Security Service). 

Strangely enough, the Soviet practice of state planning of agriculture continues in Azerbaijan. Plans for the delivery of raw cotton, hazelnut fruits, raw silk and other crops have been assigned to all regions from the capital. The authorities are obliged to purchase the harvest from local producers and hand it over to the state. But if it is not possible to harvest according to the plan due to drought, the unwillingness of peasants to sell the fruits of labor at low prices or other reasons, the Soviet experience of "attribution" is recalled: the executive power of region "A" buys the missing part of the crop in regions "B", "C" and "D" for money cashed by fictitious remuneration of local farmers. The peasants receive cash and give it to the representatives of the region who pays for the harvest purchased in the neighboring region. Naturally, this fraud is beneficial for the head of the region, since the cash turnover is not controlled by the tax authorities and, hence, is partially appropriated by the head of the region," a former employee of the executive power told us.

His words are confirmed by the publication about upward distortions in the cotton Agjabedi 

And if there is no required amount of agricultural products in other areas? Then, the source explained, the state commission draws up an act on a lean year due to drought or other reasons. The head of the region in this case does not lose anything by remaining in office.

The next area of illegal activity is the appointment of local citizens to serve in state structures operating in regions and subordinate to the capital's Ministries. Formally, local health care, education, social services, objects of the Ministry of Culture, sports facilities, etc. are not subordinated to the head of the executive power. But the fact is," a source told Turan, "that in order to be appointed to the post of head of the regional department of the capital's state organization, the applicant must receive a permit from the head of the region, which he will submit to the metropolitan department. This document says that such and such a person is characterized on the positive side, is not noticed in criminal cases and there are no claims against him from the local authorities.

For such a letter, this citizen must pay the head of the executive power, and (or) agree to employment in a subordinate organization of local personnel who paid for this place to the head of the IB.  So the region sultan earns employment in a state organization beyond his control, and places his people there, who will inform the head of the region, and carry out his corrupt instructions. Our source encountered such a scheme when he was appointed to the post of head of a region state department subordinated to the metropolitan Ministry. For 12 seats, he had to arrange nine unsuitable people who paid bribes to the head of the region. All nine bribe-takers were not approved by the metropolitan chief, and none obtained money back which they had given to the head of the region in vain.

Our source believes that all public positions in the regions, starting from the heads of departments and above, are distributed with personal consent and after receiving bribes by the head of the regional executive power.

Having placed his people in a state organization formally beyond the control of the head of the region, he extorts illegal money. According to our source, the region structures of the State Committee for Urban Planning receive information from the police and local informers that such and such a citizen is building a house on a plot of land, the document of which indicates the agricultural purpose of this territory. Officials are waiting for the construction of the house to come to an end, and they come to him with an inspection. They threaten to bulldoze the house. The owner is forced to give them from six to ten thousand manats for a two-storey house, and this amount is transferred to the head of the region," the source said.

Why is this happening all over the country despite the fact that heads of region executive authorities are almost regularly sent to places of punishment? Why does the fate of the convicted William Hajiyev not frighten?

Our source explained: V. Hajiyev allowed a large number of complaints to the center from residents of the district. The heads of the executive power should commit corruption frauds so that there are few complaints to the capital. The Presidential administration "helps" the heads of regions by returning citizens' complaints to them, officials who received a complaint. Smart corrupt officials call dissatisfied citizens to them, find a common language with them, fulfill their requests or intimidate them so that he no longer has the desire to sit down at the table and write another complaint. And there was a large flow of complaints from Imishli, as a result, the Presidential administration had to arrange a demonstrative flogging of V. Hajiyev.

Will the situation change for the better after the introduction of the institution of regional representatives of the President, with whom the heads of region executive authorities should be considered? Some experts believe that with the establishment of the institute of Presidential representatives, presidential control over the heads of regions will increase, others suggest eliminating local executive authorities, replacing them with 12-15 regional heads, depending on the number of regions in Azerbaijan. Still others believe that nothing will change.

Leave a review


Follow us on social networks

News Line