President Ilham Aliyev has urged the newly appointed Bilasuvar and Saatli district executive heads to work closely with citizens in order to help solve their problems, the state-run Azertaj news agency reported on Monday.
Aliyev appointed Faig Gurbatov as head of the Bilasuvar district executive and Elmir Bagirov as head of the Saatli district executive in a video conference held in Baku where the president instructed the new chief executives to “always be with the people,” Azertaj added.
“You must visit all the villages one by one, meet citizens, hear the existing problems in their language and solve them,” Aliyev was cited as saying on Monday.
Condemning the behaviour of some former chief executives Aliyev also added that in some regions entrepreneurs had been harassed.
“Artificial barriers are created in front of them, they are required to pay bribes and share their benefits with local authorities. This should not be allowed and these issues should be closely monitored,” Aliyev said adding that entrepreneurs of smaller businesses should only pay state taxes.
“They should not pay anything to anyone.”
In the first five months of this year, the number of chief executives arrested or fired from their posts in Azerbaijan exceeded six.
Last week, the head of the Kurdamir district executive, Jeyhun Jafarov, was also arrested.
Many of the arrested former chief executives have been charged with “abuse of power, embezzlement, and forgery.”
The fight against corruption and bribery in Azerbaijan is “not in words, but in deeds,” Aliyev said.
“I receive thousands of letters from citizens. They welcome my steps and at the same time draw my attention to some other issues,” he added.
Yet many representatives of opposition parties and activists in Azerbaijan do not consider the anti-corruption struggle in the country sufficient. They believe that the government pays lip service to the fight against corruption rather than actually waging it in Azerbaijan.