Trial of Ex-Officials of ICT Ministry: Defendant Denies Witness’ Account

Summary: Hearing #13

  • • Defendant Vidadi Zeynalov denied witness Javid Rasulov’s allegation about the misappropriation of 800,000 AZN;
    • During their courtroom testimonies, the witnesses confirmed the statements they had given to the investigative agency.

On 6 January, Baku Grave Crimes Court chaired by Judge Afgan Hajiyev held a hearing on the criminal case of the former senior officials of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies. The trial continued with witness testimonies.

Witness Ilgar Hasanov said he knew only one of the defendants – Vidadi Zeynalov. He introduced himself as the director of P.L.Z LLC, which he said belonged to Zeynalov. Hasanov confirmed his statement during the investigation. The witness refused to testify, justifying it with his memory related problems. The judge responded that he could appoint an expert to do the examination, if necessary, to verify the witness’ claim.
After that, witness Bahram Safarov took the stand. He said he was acquainted with the defendant Gambar Baybalayev and had worked at the legal department of Azerpost LLC from 2012 to 2015 before resigning voluntarily. He confirmed this in his statement.

Witness Rashadat Garayzade said he had worked as a construction employee for LLCs, which cooperated with the Ministry, mainly for Azerpost LLC. The witness noted that the costs of the work carried out had been overstated. He added that they had not given money to any of the defendants.
Next, Azeurotel LLC director Javid Rasulov testified. “Previously, 50 percent of the shares of Azeurotel LLC belonged to the Lukoil Europe Company, and the remaining 50 percent to the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies. However, Lukoil Europe later relinquished its shares to the Ministry for failing to meet its obligations,” the witness noted.

Due to an inconsistency between the witness’ testimony and his statement, the latter was announced. “Defendant Beytulla Huseynov misappropriated 800,000 AZN of the company headed by him under the pretext of installing air-conditioners in the office building of Azeurotel LLC. According to the documents, the entire air conditioning system of the building was upgraded. In reality, however, no AC whatsoever was installed. Beytulla Huseynov transferred 800,000 AZN to the account of P.L.Z LLC, which is overseen by the Chief of Staff of the Ministry Vidadi Zeynalov for unimplemented work. The money was then withdrawn from there,” the statement read.

The witness reaffirmed his statement taken during the investigation. He said the renovation work that was done was not adequate to the funds allocated and had been left unfinished.
Defendant Vidadi Zeynalov disagreed with the witness’ version. “No embezzlement was committed during the construction of that facility. All of the work was done. Even more, work was done, and more money was spent than that mentioned,” Zeynalov noted.

Witness Azer Alzamanov said he had worked as an engineer for the Optical Communications, Construction & Installation LLC led by the defendant Namazali Mammadov. He said he had known all of the defendants for a long time and called them ‘the cream of the ICT sector’. “With your permission, I’d like to praise them even more. They have ended up here unintentionally,” he noted. Alzamanov said he had signed the document accepting the construction materials worth 506,000 AZN on the instruction of the defendant Namazali Mammadov. The witness added that he was unaware of the exaggeration of the prices. He confirmed what he said during the investigation.

Witness Hasan Aliyev identified himself as a cousin of Namazali Mammadov, Head of the Optical Communications, Construction & Installation LLC. Aliyev said he had been working in communications-related work at his relative’s companies. Hasanov also confirmed his investigation statement.

The next hearing was set for 11 January, 10.30 am.

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).

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