September 2nd, 2008

Yesterday(1 September) in the Sabail District Court, under the chairmanship of Judge Rauf Ahmadov, a court hearing on the lawsuit of “Mukhalifat” Newspaper employee Yashar Agazade against Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov, Chamber of Accounts Chairman Heydar Asadov and "Azerigaz" Closed Shareholder Company Chairman Alikhan Malikov because of their inactivity as officials concluded.

Agazade told this to the Institute for Reporters’ Freedom and Safety.

Agazade sent an information request to all three high-ranking officials and asked for a copy of Audit document composed in connection with the results of audit carried out in “Azerigaz” CSC by the Chamber of Computing and Financial Ministry. However the abovementioned persons refused to give a copy of the audit document and wrote contradictory answers to the inquiry. The journalist appealed in court and demanded that his inquiry be responded to.

Finance Ministry Department Head Nazim Abbasov and Law Department lawyer Anar Asadov represented Minister of Finance Samir Sharifov, Chamber of Accounts government service and law department head Faig Najafov represented Heydar Asadov, and “Azerigaz” CSC lawyer Anar Rustamov represented Alikhan Malikov in the hearing.

As a result of questions asked by the journalist during the hearing, it was determined that serious financial violations were uncovered in “Azerigaz” CSC during the audit carried out by the Chamber of Accounts and Ministry of Finance on the project “Rehabilitation of Azerbaijani Gas System”. The project was implemented with the credits received through government recommendation. During the hearing it was also cleared that the shortcomings had been so serious that the Chamber of Accounts was obliged to lecture in front of the president on the results of the audit. And the reason why the document was not given is that serious financial violations have been reflected in there.

Despite this, the court issued a decision not to fulfill Agazade’s lawsuit. According to Agazade, an appeals complaint will be filed against the decision.