In the latest of a continuing wave of corruption related arrests of high-level officials, two retired Security Ministry generals were formally charged on April 6, according to the country’s general prosecutor’s office.
The two retired generals, Movlan Shikhaliyev and Nizami Shirinov, were charged under articles covering extortion, falsification of evidence, bribe-taking, and abuse of power under Azerbaijan criminal codes.
The Azerbaijan Ministry of National Security was dissolved in late 2015 by a presidential decree and in its place a National Security Service was created.
The prosecutor’s office said that in his role as head of the Main Investigation Department of the Ministry of National Security, Shikhaliyev and a subordinate “falsified evidence in nine criminal cases, and abused his official powers, committed various corruption crimes, extorted bribes on a large scale, embezzled property and funds on a large scale by means of threats”.
Shirinov, the former head of the Office of Military Counterintelligence, Shirinov “received large bribes for admitting persons to the Academy of the Ministry of National Security, changing the place of service, and appropriating property and money through threats.”
The ministry was disbanded in part because of allegations of massive corruption. 21 senior ministry officers were prosecuted and arrested in 2015, the last year of its existence.
The arrests of the two generals are just one in a pattern which have emerged since Azerbaijan dealt a decisive blow to Armenia in the culmination of three decades of war.
On April 3, the former head of the Baku City Executive Office, Rasim Guliyev, was arrested and charged under articles including the illegal issuance of a building permit and abuse of office, resulting in grave consequences.
Before that, the head of a an essentially state steel monopoly was arrested and charged with especially large-scale corruption.
A high-ranking military officer was charged in a murder case in which he stabbed a man to death with a knife to the heart some two decades ago. And a government minister was arrested on graft and abuse of office charges.
President Ilham Aliyev has been very vocal in recent weeks and months about the need to end large scale corruption and root out de facto state monopolies.