The opening of a new office building of the Anti-Corruption Department under the Prosecutor-General of the Republic of Azerbaijan has been held, Caspian Energy News (www.caspenergy.com) reports with reference to the official website of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
The ceremony was attended by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev.
The elimination of the issues hampering the successful development of the country represents tremendous importance.
The tightening of measures on combating cases of corruption and bribery is at the center of attention.
To this end, a number of measures have been taken in recent years, including the strengthening of the legal framework to combat corruption more effectively. Over this period, the national program to combat corruption covering 2004-2006 was adopted. The national strategy on increasing transparency and combating corruption and the action plan on its implementation in 2007-2011 were adopted in 2007. The Law "On Combating Corruption" was adopted in 2004. This was when organizations specialized in fighting corruption began to operate, including the Anti-Corruption Commission and the Anti-Corruption Department under the Prosecutor-General of the Republic of Azerbaijan. In addition, the decree "On measures to strengthen the fight against corruption in the Republic of Azerbaijan" signed in 2008 defined the strategic policy of the state in this area. According to this policy, the Republic of Azerbaijan acceded to several international instruments against corruption, including the conventions of the Council of Europe "On criminal liability for corruption" and "On civil and legal liability for corruption", the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, as well as the United Nations Convention against Corruption.
Along with this, the focus has also been on strengthening the material and technical infrastructure and improving the working conditions of prosecutor’s offices. A special place among these measures is occupied by the construction of a new office building of the Anti-Corruption Department, which has been built in the national architectural style, in line with modern standards and in accordance with the state program on "Modernizing the activities of the Prosecutor's Office of the Republic of Azerbaijan" approved in 2008.
Prosecutor-General Zakir Garalov reported to President Ilham Aliyev who had arrived earlier to attend the opening of the new office building of the Anti-Corruption Department.
Informing the head of state, Prosecutor-General Zakir Garalov said that the construction of a new office building of the Anti-Corruption Department, which consists of two five- and seven-storey sections, as well as a three-storey auxiliary building and underground garage, had started in August 2010. The construction work has been successfully completed.
Along with this, other buildings located on the territory have also been reconstructed, a new recreation park for the local population set up, green areas expanded and fountains built.
During familiarization with the new office building, it was noted that works of fine art are also on display. On the first floor there are large mosaic murals glorifying the modern Azerbaijan and reflecting the architectural patterns that have become symbols of our capital. There is a bust of nationwide leader Heydar Aliyev, photo stands demonstrating the regulatory acts in the field of combating corruption, international conventions to which our country is a signatory, as well as documents reflecting the development of prosecutor's offices.
The President was informed that the development ongoing in the country has given an impetus to the deepening of judicial reforms, improved the infrastructure of law-enforcement agencies, including the prosecutor’s office, and led to the construction of modern facilities. In particular, new office buildings for the prosecutor’s offices of the Yasamal and Sabunchu districts of the capital, Ismayilli, Goygol, Gusar, Bilasuvar, Gadabay, Zardab and Samukh Districts, as well as the Zagatala military prosecutor’s office have been built, while office buildings of many other district prosecutor's offices have been renovated.
It was noted that 100- and 250-seat conference rooms available in the building can host various workshops, seminars and international events, press conferences, meetings with representatives of civil society, including nongovernmental organizations, "round tables", educational activities and presentations. The local library possessing a rich collection of law books, various method aids, regulatory and legal acts has access to the electronic libraries of other government agencies. There is also an operational control center in the building. The center can exercise online control over operational activities prepared and carried out by the Anti-Corruption Department.
The head of state reviewed the "hot line" communication center and examined its activities. The activities of communication center "161", established to ensure prompt examination and expeditious consideration of complaints over corruption offenses, meet contemporary requirements. Incoming calls are processed through a monitor equipped with a visual function and special software, which enables effective analysis to determine most corrupt practices and adopt precautionary measures.
Then, President Ilham Aliyev examined the rooms fitted with the necessary equipment and modern facilities based on the latest achievements of scientific and technical progress to successfully implement operational search activities, prevent and detect cases of corruption.
The criminology room has stands and visual aids describing the methods of investigating corruption crimes of various categories.
Interrogation rooms are equipped in line with contemporary requirements to facilitate investigative activities with the participation of victims, witnesses and other participants of a criminal process. The rooms are fitted with the necessary equipment and facilities. In addition, the building has a reception area also equipped with modern information and communication devices. The displays available here show excerpts from the legal documents relating to the consideration of appeals, orders on people’s admission to prosecutor’s offices, as well as the days and hours when citizens can make appointments with senior representatives of the prosecutor's office. In order to provide the public with information using modern electronic media, an information kiosk has been set up. In accordance with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, a special access ramp has been installed at the entrance to the building. For security reasons, there are numerous surveillance cameras, metal detectors and X-ray machines, which enable examination of the contents of bags, as well as turnstiles.
The security room, the library and the clerical office are also equipped according to modern requirements. The building operates a modern canteen. There is also a car park for 80 vehicles.
It was brought to the President’s attention that the auxiliary building houses a publishing house for printing educational guidelines in the area of combating corruption, studies, analyses and books on theoretical and practical issues, method aids on the investigation of certain crimes, booklets describing the best international best practices, advances in the fight against corruption and other similar publications.
President Ilham Aliyev also reviewed special vehicles to be used by the Anti-Corruption Department. It was noted that the forensic vehicles fitted with special equipment would be used in implementing investigative and operational activities.
Then the President of Azerbaijan met with the staff of the Anti-Corruption Department under the Prosecutor-General of the Republic of Azerbaijan.
Congratulating the ceremony participants, President Ilham Aliyev said:
- It is a professional holiday of prosecutors tomorrow. On this occasion, I want to congratulate you and the entire staff of the Prosecutor's Office. Today, we are celebrating the opening of the Anti-Corruption Department under the Prosecutor-General.
I have just reviewed the building. There are excellent conditions for employees of the prosecutor’s office. The most modern equipment is available. In other words, there are all the opportunities for productive work. I am glad that such a beautiful building has been constructed in a short time. There are top-level conditions both for those working here and for those who will be coming here to raise their concerns. And this is the way it should be. I have repeatedly expressed my thoughts on the fight against corruption. And today I want to say that all of the work in this area should be carried out at the highest level in Azerbaijan.
Azerbaijan has managed to protect itself from external risks. The events, standoffs and confrontation occurring in the world and the region are not having any impact on Azerbaijan because the stability, calm and unity between our people and government insure us against these risks. At the same time, Azerbaijan was not affected by the negative processes in the economic sphere taking place in the world. The world has been dominated by a financial and economic recession for more than five years. But the people of Azerbaijan do not feel it. On the contrary, salaries and pensions are being raised, new jobs are opening and investment is increasing in Azerbaijan. In other words, we have been able to protect ourselves from the economic hardships occurring in the world. Of course, we must and we will protect our society and state from corruption.
The fight against corruption is a priority issue today. This fight is producing good results and success. The Anti-Corruption Department is worthy of commendation. I am confident that even greater success will be achieved in this area in the coming years. This problem should be completely eradicated. It should not exist in Azerbaijan.
It is also true corruption exists in every country and in every society. But the big question is the level and scope of its coverage. We must constantly narrow the field for corruption. We are using and will use a variety of methods here. In the first place, punitive measures should be even stricter. Every citizen must know that their acts of corruption will not go unpunished. A special role is played by administrative tools. Preventive measures, enlightenment and, at the same time, system reforms carried out in this area in our country also play a role. Among them I want to emphasize the "electronic government" system. I would like to note the activities of “ASAN xidmət”. In a short time, more than 500,000 Azerbaijani citizens have addressed “ASAN xidmət”. This service has been in operation for less than a year. In fact, it covers only Baku, Sumgayit and the AbsheronPeninsula. But people are addressing it. Why? Because there is no corruption and people are provided with good services there.
We need to make our entire system transparent. The process of ensuring greater transparency of the financial and economic sector is well under way. According to the transparency index, Azerbaijan is among world leaders. Under such circumstances, given the successful development and excellent prospects for our country, we should be at the forefront and among world leaders in the fight against corruption as well.
I am delighted that the work done in this area in recent years is yielding results. International organizations also appreciate the activities of Azerbaijan in this field. Every year, the rating of corruption in Azerbaijan, so to speak, is improving. Our ties with international organizations are strengthening. According to my information, there are close links with the InternationalAnti-CorruptionAcademy and other international organizations. We must fully apply the experience of developed countries in this field.
Of course, Azerbaijan has its own history and its own characteristics. We are using and will continue to use only the most positive experience that exists in the world. I believe that developed countries have achieved truly great strides in the fight against corruption. We need to apply this experience to Azerbaijan. I want to say again that a crucial role in this should be played by a combination of several factors and consistency between them. There must be a strong political will, and it is there.
I have repeatedly expressed my thoughts on the fight against corruption and repeatedly asked citizens to address relevant authorities with their complaints and proposals. So a strong political will is there. There are also positive changes in society for the fight against corruption. Public confidence is growing. There is growing confidence that we will completely eradicate this evil in Azerbaijan and that Azerbaijani society will recover from this plague. Corruption is a plague, a disease that undermines any society from within. Using all the opportunities available, we must strive to ensure that there is no corruption in Azerbaijan and that social justice is fully ensured. After all, corruption is a factor that undermines social justice.
Strong political commitment, professionalism, honesty and integrity of prosecutors, the existing atmosphere of fight against serious corruption – these factors, I am sure, will help us achieve our goals. Azerbaijan should be at the forefront of the fight against corruption. I am sure that this will be the case. In the coming years, I want to say again, we should apply the experience of developed countries to Azerbaijan, not just to study it, as we have already studied it, but to apply it to each area. Transparency, honesty and integrity must become a way of life. I am sure that this will be the case.
You are young prosecutors. I am sure that you will be guided by all these principles in your work and faithfully serve the state. Once again, I congratulate all employees of the prosecutor’s office on the upcoming professional holiday.