Former Chiefs of Regional Telephone Exchange Offices Testify in Court

January 27th, 2017

  • The court announced the investigation statements of the witnesses who provided conflicting testimony;
    Witness Zulfali Muradov: “Tenders were perfunctory. The leadership determined the companies that would carry out the construction work in advance.”

On 27 January, Baku Grave Crimes Court held a hearing on the criminal case of former Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies (MCHT) Vidadi Zeynalov and his co-defendants. Several witnesses testified at the hearing chaired by Judge Afgan Hajiyev.

Ramiz Sadigov, former chief of Beylagan Telephone Exchange, said two telephone exchange facilities had been built in the region as instructed. “We have not returned money to the Ministry out of the funds allocated for the construction,” the witness said.

Zulfali Muradov, former chief of Neftchala Telephone Exchange, testified that the organisations that had won the tenders engaged in cabling work in the region. Due to an inconsistency between his court testimony and investigation statement, the latter was read out. “A total of 3 million manat was allocated for Neftchala Telephone Exchange, and these funds were given to Optical Communications, Construction & Installation LLC based on the instructions from Ogtay Rustamov. In 2014, 84 thousand manat was transferred to the Exchange, and that amount was forwarded to Tigro Company as instructed by Ogtay Rustamov. That is, the company that would conduct the construction work were determined by the leadership in advance, and tenders were pro forma. On the other hand, the figures related to the actions done were overstated by Namazali Mammadov,” the witness’ statement read. Muradov confirmed his account.

Defendant Namazali Mammadov objected to the witness’ statement and said all work had been implemented by the law.

Zaur Mammadov, former chief of Jalilabad Regional Telephone Exchange, also appeared to have told the investigators that the cost of the work carried out in Jalilabad had been overstated in an amount of 160 thousand manat. According to Mammadov, Ogtay Rustamov had instructed them that 35 percent of the funds allocated for tenders had to be sent back, and 10 percent of that money went to Mammad Mammadov. “Everything was supervised by Vidadi Zeynalov. Sometimes, the funds allocated for Exchanges were on paper only. Tenders were not held, and companies did the work based on assignments,” Mammadov’s investigation statement read. The witness confirmed his account.

During their witness testimonies in court, former MCTH accountant Fatullah Abdullayev, former chief of Dashkesen Post Branch Goshun Aliyev and former director of Jalilabad Post Branch Musa Kazimov also confirmed their investigation statements.

The proceedings will continue on 1 February.

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 analyst 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 (diversion or waste, in a significant 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).