Witnesses Testify in ‘Communications Case’

February 1st, 2017

Summary: Hearing #19

  • Ø Witness Emil Ibrahimov confirmed his investigation statement and said 35 percent of the funds allocated for construction had been returned to the Ministry in cash;
    Ø Mirbaba Babayev’s investigation statement, which he confirmed in court, reads that the requests for quotations had been conducted pro forma and the construction companies belonging to defendant Beytulla Huseynov and his acquaintance defendant Bayram Valiyev had been declared winners in advance.
On 1 February, Baku Grave Crimes Court, chaired by Judge Afgan Hajiyev, held a hearing on the criminal case against the former Chief of Staff of the Ministry of Communications and High Technologies Vidadi Zeynalov and several others: 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.

The proceedings continued with witness testimonies.

Former head of Elor-IC LLC, witness Emil Ibrahimov confirmed his statement provided during the preliminary investigation. According to his statement, he had been received by Minister of Communications and High Technologies Ali Abbasov in a job interview. The Minister gave him a positive response and referred him to Vidadi Zeynalov. Vidadi Zeynalov told him that part of the repair and construction works to be conducted at the Ministry’s subordinate organisations would be entrusted to him. After some time, Ibrahimov met with Abdulla Geybullayev, the supervisor of the repair and construction works in Azerpost LLC and was charged with the construction of three branch buildings of Goychay postal branch. Ibrahimov’s company was declared the winner at the request for quotes as a formality, on the condition that he would give 35 percent of the funds allocated for construction back to them in cash, and he agreed.

Next, former chief of Yasamal District Telephone Exchange Mirbaba Babayev testified as a witness. He also confirmed his investigation statement, which reads that the requests for quotations at the Exchange had been conducted pro forma and the construction companies belonging to BTCPA Director General, defendant Beytulla Huseynov and his acquaintance defendant Bayram Valiyev had been declared winners in advance.

After that, former head of Yevlakh postal branch Elman Safarov and senior engineer of Nizami Telephone Exchange Yasin Farzaliyev testified as a witness. They also confirmed their statements provided during the preliminary investigation.

The next hearing was set for 3 February, 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).

Staff of Closed Private Broadcaster ANS TV Appeal to Ilham Aliyev: “We Are Also Concerned by the Fact that We Have Caused Concern to You and Your Family”

The staff of ANS Teleradio and Media Company, which was taken off the air on 18 July 2016, appealed to President of Azerbaijan Republic Ilham Aliyev on 31 January.

The appeal starts with the following lines: “The reasons we are taking up your time with an open letter are very serious. Despite all our efforts and our searches for justice from door to door, ANS’ activities have been stopped for nearly seven months. We, as a television and radio station and an internet portal, have been deprived of the opportunity to serve our beloved Azerbaijan.”

The appeal further speaks in detail about ANS’ role in the history of Azerbaijan as the first independent television station in the post-Soviet region. It reminds the measures undertaken to bring ANS TV to the level of such giants as CNN, BBC and Reuters.

“With its activities and values that it inculcates, ANS is much more than just a TV and radio station and portal. We have worked to show citizens their real situation without lying to them. We have talked about the existing problems, been sincere with our viewers and listeners, explained the importance of fighting corruption and bribery as a public scourge, but stressed that the main cause of all our scourges is the Karabakh war, and even told the international organisations criticising the existing situation of human rights and democracy in Azerbaijan that the problems in all areas could be tolerated until the day our territorial integrity is restored,” the appeal reads.

“There has not been one significant event in the life of Azerbaijan over the past 25 years that ANS has not witnessed or participated in; Nakhchivan’s full blockade in 1990, Heydar Aliyev’s access to the world only through ANS when he was working in an environment of complete prohibitions, the period 1990-92 which was full of coups and military actions, the 1993 Ganja riot, the coup attempts of October 1994 and March 1995, the civil strife of 2003, and dozens of other events that require an extended list to mention…”

The appeal recalls that the door of ANS’ office premises has been sealed off, and the owner of the building housing the company – the National Academy of Sciences – requires that the building is vacated as soon as possible.

“Today, Azerbaijan, our people, our state and its Supreme Commander-in-Chief needs ANS! The following comments made by President’s aide on socio-political issues Ali Hasanov allow us to say this: Today, the closure of ANS concerns the President and the first lady more than anyone. We are also concerned by the fact that we have caused concern to you and your family, Mr President!”

“We kindly ask you to receive and listen to us and to let us eliminate the concern caused to you with our participation. You are the only force who can put an end to these concerns, Mr President,” ANS staff’s appeal to Ilham Aliyev says in conclusion.

Background: On 29 July 2016, Baku Court of Appeal revoked the license of ANS Independent Broadcasting & Media Company issued on 25 October 2013. The lawsuit against ANS had been brought by the National Television and Radio Council, which claimed that following the 15 July coup attempt in Turkey, ANS TV broadcasted materials supportive of terrorism.

The leadership of ANS rejects the accusations. However, ANS Director-General has called its reporter’s participation in the press conference of Fetullah Gulen (Ed. a US-based Turkish cleric accused of masterminding the 15 July coup in Turkey) a ‘mistake’ and apologised to the peoples of Turkey and Azerbaijan.