Emotions Heat up during Trial on ‘Communications Case’

March 2nd, 2017

• Defendant Mahammad Mammadov: Vidadi Zeynalov, do you have a problem with me?
• A motion by former Ministry Chief of Staff’s lawyers led to a scandal.

On 1 March, Baku Grave Crimes Court, chaired by Judge Afgan Hajiyev, continued the proceedings on the criminal case against the former Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies (MCHT) Vidadi Zeynalov, former Director General of Baku Telephone Communications Production Association (BTCPA) Beytulla Huseynov, Director of Communications Repair & Construction No.3 LLC and Repair & Supply Service LLC Emin Mammadov, chief accountant of these LLCs Anar Mustafayev, Director General of Aztelekom LLC Mahammad Mammadov, chief accountant of the LLC Oktay Rustamov, Director General of AzInTelekom LLC Jalil Jafarov, Director General of Azerpost LLC Gambar Baybalayev, Director of Optical Communications, Construction and Installation LLC Namazali Mammadov, chief accountant of the LLC Sahrab Humbatov, and Director of Baku Communications Repair & Construction LLC and Repair & Supply Service LLC Bayram Valiyev.

The hearing started one hour later than the scheduled time due to the absence of one of the lawyers. The examination of the documents continued at the hearing.

Vidadi Zeynalov’s lawyer Elkhan Suleymanli lodged a motion, saying that there were two moments investigation of which was more important than the examination of other documents. According to him, although the investigation had been conducted on two episodes, only one of those episodes was mentioned in the indictment bill. “On the Aztelekom LLC episode, the indictment reads that, from 2009 to 2015, Ogtay Rustamov and Mahammad Mammadov ensured the transfer of AZN 128,944,000 received by the LLC to the company’s accounts in separate banks and their subsequent withdrawal. There, AZN 29,000,700 was given to Vidadi Zeynalov, and AZN 243,000 was misappropriated by Ogtay Rustamov and AZN 3,807,000 by Mahammad Mammadov. Again, the indictment reads that, during that period, Mahammad Mammadov and Ogtay Rustamov transferred AZN 95,425,000 VAT included to separate Telecommunication Exchanges by drawing up false reports, and documented the money. They withdrew AZN 42,000,000 out of AZN 54,000,000 VAT included, gave AZN 37,000,000 to Vidadi Zeynalov, AZN 4,000,200 went to Mahammad Mammadov, and Ogtay Rustamov took AZN 234,000 for himself. In his another statement, Mahammad Mammadov has noted that the service fee of AZN 128,000,000 received from Azintelekom LLC in 2009-2015 was transferred by Aztelekom. Those funds were transferred to Telephone Exchanges, Azerpost, Qafqaz S and other LLCs on the Ministry’s instructions and were given out of the Ministry’s treasury,” Suleymanli said.

The lawyer added that this gave rise to a contradiction. “Aztelekom LLC using its internal resources spent AZN 1,500,000 per month on the purchase of goods and materials and the performance of works, and these funds made up AZN 95,400,000 VAT included. Allegedly, AZN 37,900,000 of that amount was transferred to the Ministry’s treasury. Ogtay Rustamov and Mahammad Mammadov took respectively AZN 243,000 and AZN 3,800,000 for themselves. Then, on the Ministry’s instructions, AZN 128,000,000 received from Azintelekom was transferred by Aztelekom to Telephone Exchanges and LLCs. AZN 29,700,000 of that amount was transferred to the Ministry’s treasury, and Mahammad Mammadov and Ogtay Rustamov took respectively AZN 3,800,000 and AZN 243,000 for themselves. I am saying all this in order for an objective and fair investigation to be conducted. If damage has been caused to the state, it should be fully specified and the damage caused should be fully recompensed,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer underlined that the investigating authority had knowingly mixed the two episodes, thereby deliberately inflating the amount in that episode, while not showing any amount for other episodes at all. “Where did AZN 37,900,000 go? That amount has nothing to do with the Ministry’s treasury. This issue has not been properly investigated during the phase of preliminary investigation,” he noted.

Mahammad Mammadov’s lawyer Shahin Rafiyev raised an objection. He asked for Vidadi Zeynalov’s statements to be read out. Vidadi Zeynalov’s other lawyer Jeyhun Yusifov requested that witness Fatulla Bakhshaliyev’s statement be announced. He noted that Mahammad Mammadov was accused of misappropriating AZN 4,600,000.

Mahammad Mammadov’s lawyer Shahin Rafiyev once again objected. “Is it going to do any good to Vidadi Zeynalov to prove whether money was given to Mahammad Mammadov or not? What will it change for him,” the lawyer asked, adding that everyone knew Mahammad Mammadov had not been given money. The argument continued, with lawyer Elkhan Suleymanov responding to Shahin Rafiyev that the investigating authority had not applied the same circumstance to Vidadi Zeynalov and had been biased towards him.

At that point, defendant Mahammad Mammadov objected to Vidadi Zeynalov, saying ‘What do you want from me, Vidadi Zeynalov. Do you have a problem with me?’

Vidadi Zeynalov said he had no problem with the defendant.

The judge noted that he would spare a day for the investigation of those issues at the phase of document examination.

At that, a serious dispute broke out between lawyers. Mahammad Mammadov’s lawyer Shahin Rafiyev said Mahammad Mammadov had not given money to anyone. He accused Vidadi Zeynalov’s lawyers of lodging a motion against his client.

Vidadi Zeynalov said his and his lawyers’ purpose was not to speak against Mahammad Mammadov, but to prove that the investigation had not been conducted correctly. “Everyone knows that Mahammad Mammadov has not received or given money. But, he recompensed the damage caused to the state out of fear,” Zeynalov remarked.

After that, the judge continued to announce the documents.

Defendant Namazali Mammadov’s lawyer Konul Aliyeva filed a motion for a repeat accounting examination. She noted that there were serious errors in the expert opinion. Her other motion sought the removal of the record of the search and seizure conducted in the Optical Communications, Construction and Installation LLC from the list of evidence. Aliyeva stated that the record had been drawn up 25 days after the implementation of the search and seizure, which constituted a procedural violation, and therefore, it could not be accepted as evidence. The court left the motions undecided at the current stage.

Konul Aliyeva then asked the court to read out the protocol of Namazali Mammadov’s confrontation with Vidadi Zeynalov at the investigating authority. When the judge proceeded to announce the confrontation record, Vidadi Zeynalov’s lawyer Jeyhun Yusifov objected that the document could not be announced as Vidadi Zeynalov had not yet testified in court. The judge satisfied the objection and the document was not announced.

The proceedings will continue on 3 March.

Background: The following former senior officials of the ICT Ministry and its affiliate agencies are on the dock in a high-profile corruption case: former Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies Vidadi Zeynalov, former Director General of Baku Telephone Communications Production Association (BTCPA) Beytulla Huseynov, Director of Communications Repair & Construction No.3 LLC and Repair & Supply Service LLC Emin Mammadov, chief accountant of these LLCs Anar Mustafayev, Director General of Aztelekom LLC Mahammad Mammadov, chief accountant of the LLC Oktay Rustamov, Director General of AzInTelekom LLC Jalil Jafarov, Director General of Azerpost LLC Gambar Baybalayev, Director of Optical Communications, Construction and Installation LLC Namazali Mammadov, chief accountant of the LLC Sahrab Humbatov, and Director of Baku Communications Repair & Construction LLC and Repair & Supply Service LLC Bayram Valiyev.
Of them, Vidadi Zeynalov, Beytulla Huseynov, Anar Mustafayev, Emin Mammadov, Mammad Mammadov, Oktay Rustamov, Namazali Mammadov, Sahrab Humbatov and Gambar Baybalayev are charged under Articles 179.3.1 (misappropriation or waste, committed as an organised group), 179.3.2 (misappropriation or waste, in a large amount), 308.2 (abuse of official powers) and 313 (service forgery) of the Criminal Code. Jalil Jafarov is charged under Articles 179.3.1 and 179.3.2. Bayram Valiyev is charged under Articles 179.3.1, 179.3.2, 308.2, 313 and 213.2.2 (tax evasion, in a large amount).