Our Analytics 18 december — 13:06

Fazil Mammadov's head rolled too (Our editorial)

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BY EYNULLA FATULLAYEV

Along a path down a high hill a head from the broken statue of one more Azerbaijani patrician is rolling. Did Eldar Mahmudov, Ziya Mammadov, Ali Abbasov or Fazil Mammadov personify the image of the servants of the people? Obese from permanent unbridled Lucullian orgies, drowning from the gratuitous champagne, raised on the pedestal of power, they resembled those very patricians hiding from the eyes of others under the centuries-old oaks on the Palatine Hill.

And next to them were young plebeians, whose duties included escorting their masters after another night feast to the ancient oaks and help them induce vomiting and thus rid the patrician of the abundant food that was no longer contained in a small human stomach... And do you know where did the Roman patricians go after that? Again to the table, for a new delight, for a new meal and forever festive wine...

Almost like in an office of an Azerbaijani minister

What is left of the power of these timeservers, who have entered into the role of Jupiter on earth? Some bits and fragments. Broken, warped and defiled statues gathered in the Vatican cellars. This is the philosophy of history.

Yes, we sometimes have to turn to the eternal questions of the philosophy of history, which teaches one thing: it does not teach anything! About the overthrown omnipotent and all-powerful minister Fazil Mamedov, the same legends went about, as about the forgotten Roman patricians, hiding under the canopy of oaks.

The greedy Raja, who turned the whole ministry into a Golden Antelope, capable of knocking out gold coins. Only Fazil Mammadov, apparently, did not fully follow the story of the collapse of the greedy and insatiable nobleman. All the gold there turns into shards, and Fazil Mammadov ended up under the "shards" of his own oligarchic manners.

The tax minister led an almost royal way of life. A huge cortege, a personal security team of 25 bodyguards, a whole fleet of fashionable armored cars with a recognizable "711" licence plate, a luxury castle in London, a personal Gulf Stream airplane, mansions, gold, diamonds... From the black corruption treasury of this state agency tens of thousands of dollars were daily spent on the life of the minister. The head of the department let himself for months not appear at work, go into deep drinking.

Stalin's tunic of the comedian Fazil Mammadov

A paradox, but state official Fazil Mammadov for the years of civil service has turned into one of the richest people in the country. The guests of the minister left his office with several tens of thousands of dollars. It was a souvenir, so to speak, a small gift to infrequent visitors. Fazil Mammadov used to carelessly open the top shelf of his bookcase, from which thick bundles of money fell out, and with generous lavishness handed in several of them: "This is a gift! I don't let anyone go without attention." This was the minister's favorite phrase, who knew the source of these millions perfectly. He longed for his imaginary generosity to be a byword. Generosity paid by the sweat of the taxpayers.

Fundamental values of life for Fazil Mammadov were an inadmissible luxury. And he was guided only by his own whims and blood nepotism. The minister placed his family members and relatives in various positions.

Every time I looked at the white Stalin's tunic of "Generalissimo" Fazil Mammadov, who with the expression of the face of a noble Roman declaimed vehemently the calls to strictly fill in the tax returns, I recalled the immortal words of Nikita Sergeyevich Khrushchev calling for ridding the state departments of the country from epauletes and uniforms. Fazil Mammadov did not understand the comical nature of his situation. Money hindered. There was too much of them, way too much, brought in bags. And he thought that he could buy with these bags an image, a name and history. Like a comedian, from the stage of a Neronian theater. Therefore he burned everything in his path.

Such as Fazil Mamedov caused a fire in the souls of Azerbaijani entrepreneurs. Sacks of money to the minister's office were dragged by the godfathers of the corruption pyramid in the Ministry of Taxes. Repression-corruption system in the Ministry of Taxes was like a two-headed terrible beast with a huge mouth. One head were the departments for working with small entrepreneurs and for national income. The second was the Office of Tax Crimes. Entrepreneurs were thrown into the mouth of the first head. And if there they couldn't undress and bankrupt a businessman, who did not fully understand what the brigands wanted from him, the unfortunate was thrown into the second mouth: the Investigation Department.

And the fierce investigators handcuffed a businessman or a construction baron. And only then did he understand that the bandits demanded from him not taxes that he had already conscientiously paid, but bribes. Who paid with sacks, got freedom. And who did not, they were given rations with a ticket to the prison zone. Fazil Mammadov entered the history of the world tax system: he began to collect taxes and bribes into the black treasury from businessmen who had just started their business. A builder did not have time to dig a foundation pit, as the monstrous silhouette of the tax investigators surfaced above his head. They demanded money! What for? For a business that was barely beginning...

Fazil Mammadov's guardsmen were not only a nightmare for the private sector. They also visited state institutions and subcontractors. The whole system of cashing was carried out through one-day firms, controlled by the Ministry of Taxes. 30 percent of the budget appropriations was pumped out of each state project. That's where the lion's share of budget funds went.

And the budget itself did not get it, and the heads of the financial and economic sector were puzzled: how to fill the budget? Meanwhile, the tax minister managed to come up with yet another unprecedented scheme. In 2017, his department began to beat out from businessmen the taxes for 2018 !!! The event is extraordinary!

But Fazil Mammadov's taxation slaughter did not stop. It had another bloody ax: a desk check. And the minister presented this fiction in a wrapper of "lawfulness and transparency"...

That's why Fazil Mammadov was fired. Out of all the offices of the officials, a chorus of complainers, tormented businessmen and crushed businessmen, was heard. How often could the president tirelessly repeat his calls and orders to the officials: "Serve the people!", "Be modest!", "Do not steal!" ... How many times did he need to call ministers and officials to transparency and legality?! How much more did Ilham Aliyev have to set himself as an example, obliging them to live and govern by his rules and canons?! And the dismissal of Fazil Mammadov was the continuation of the logical chain of loud resignations and dismissals of leading members of the government.

Thus punished is the minister who broke law in Azerbaijan

The president expelled and punished Eldar Mahmudov, Jahangir Hajiyev, Ziya Mammadov, Ali Abbasov, Fazil Mammadov... Ilham Aliyev makes clear that there is no place in the government for officials who are mired in corruption, lawlessness and abuses. There is no place for the oligarchs who usurped state agencies and put them at the service of their plutocratic interests! There is no place for officials who have organically merged with their offices. There is no place for officials who turned ministries into their own huts. Any critical word is a challenge to the minister's honor. How else? This is his home!

And the miserable fate of the robber and oppressor Fazil Mammadov is a clear lesson for other ministers and officials! Unfortunately, as experience of the same western state civilization shows, this crime cannot be eradicated and overcome by repressions alone. Is it possible that Fazil Mammadov will not become a bitter omen for the entire bureaucratic class?! There are no select and privileged ones. There is only Ilham Aliyev's decisive policy aimed at creating a society of universal prosperity, strengthening the foundations of a social and legal state, rooted in the rule of law... And this is evidenced by loud investigations and public punishments of officials of the disbanded Ministry of National Security, International Bank, the Ministry of Communications, and now the Ministry of Taxes. Officials, at last, should realize the unavoidability of punishment for their atrocities.

By the way, according to some sources, Fazil Mammadov wanted to leave the country, escape, having thrown off his white Stalin's tunic. But he was stopped...

It is time for ministers-technocrats and managers with progressive and creative thinking. It is they who will implement the systemic reforms of the President of the country.

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