Why are the anti-corruption measures in Nakhchivan politicized? - Column

For several days, conflicting news about Nakhchivan has been circulating in the media. Speculations and misinformation are happening on social networks. Some forces are purposefully trying to politicize and disguise the processes. In fact, the issue is of an economic nature. As it is known, anti-corruption measures have been strengthened in the republic for some time. All regions, including the capital Baku, are fighting against corruption, and in this context, officials who commit corrupt acts are punished. Naturally, Nakhchivan region is not an exception. Azerbaijani laws and state policy apply to Nakhchivan, like all regions, and there can be no exception.

So far, there have been crackdowns on corruption, embezzlement and arrests across the country. However, the issue was not politicized in any of them. When the same process was carried out in Nakhchivan, for some reason, some forces got into the trap and made up whatever they thought of and spread it in the media. These claims have no basis and are not based on any actual facts.

Research has shown that there are a large number of cases of customs evasion in the goods brought to Nakhchivan. This evasion means that the money of the state, that is, the people's money, goes into the pockets of certain individuals. This, of course, should be investigated and punished. In the first investigation, we are talking about the embezzlement of 130 million manats, but there is no doubt that the scale of corruption is greater.

In addition, each year, about 500 million manats are allocated from the state budget to the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic. The budget income of the Autonomous Republic is around 180 million manats. This cannot be a true indicator, because this number is equal to the economic income of a region. There is 1 city and 7 districts in Nakhchivan. It is clear that hundreds of millions of funds have been embezzled by ordinary logic.

From the published figures on the implementation of the budget of Nakhchivan for 2021, it is known that customs payments accounted for 21.6 percent of the revenues of the budget of the autonomous republic or 31.4 million manats during that year. As it can be seen, much more amount than the customs duty paid to the state budget was appropriated.

Since Nakhchivan lives under blockade, there has always been special attention and care, and many concessions have been applied. But it seems that some officials are using it for their personal purposes. The construction and improvement works in Nakhchivan, the transformation of the autonomous republic into the most prosperous region of the country, is the result of the state's high care for this region. However, the use of the right of self-government by a group of officials for their own purposes was unacceptable and should be punished. There is nothing strange here. It would be more strange if no action was taken by the state.

In any case, if the embezzlement of hundreds of millions of public funds is investigated and those who do it are punished, this is a positive thing and should be applauded. However, some opposition circles criticize this work instead of appreciating it and serve certain forces by taking the issue out of context by spreading false information.

In the 2022-2026 National Action Plan on strengthening the fight against corruption approved by the President of Azerbaijan this year, it is envisaged that a more transparent and flexible mechanism will be created in this direction and serious measures will be taken to eliminate corruption. Work on this action plan has already accelerated.

Recent operations have shown that serious steps are being taken to prevent the corrupt practices of a number of officials by abusing their powers.

In a short time, the fact of corruption in many state bodies was revealed, the embezzlement of state funds was prevented, the process continues and will continue. As Mr. President said, no one has the right to immunity and everyone will answer for what they have done against the state and the people.

Author: Elchin Bayramli

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