Azerbaijan has made considerable achievements in the fight against corruption, Fuad Alasgarov

Transparency International`s 2013 Global Corruption Barometer has once again confirmed Azerbaijan`s advances in the fight against corruption.
In his interview with AzerTAc, Fuad Alasgarov, Head of Department for Work with Law-Enforcement Bodies at the Presidential Administration, commented on the report and highlighted what conditioned the country`s achievements in combating corruption. The following is the full text of the interview:

-Transparency International released its 2013 Global Corruption Barometer. We would like to know your opinion on what the report says about Azerbaijan?
- The Barometer once again confirmed advances of Azerbaijan in the fight against corruption. I would like to point out two figures featured in the report. Some 68 percent of the respondents approved of the measures taken by the government to fight against the corruption as effective. This is three times more than the world rate of 22 percent. The second point is that more than half of the respondents believe the level of corruption in their countries has increased over the past two years. In Azerbaijan, 73 percent of the respondents said the level of corruption in their country has not increased. Of course, we expected these positive results. This is the result of complex anti-corruption policy carried out by President Ilham Aliyev. According to the report, the overall level of corruption decreased in Azerbaijan.
Global Corruption Barometer draws on public opinion surveys from 107 countries. The fact that the report is not based on subjective opinions and describes the global picture of corruption ensures the objectivity of the results. That’s why unlike previous reports made by some international organizations based on political conclusions, subjective opinions, the Barometer demonstrates the real situation on the subject. Continuous and complementary anti-corruption measures taken in Azerbaijan had to have had the effect. Despite these measures have not caused an immediate public response and have been noted by international organizations late, anyway, the truth is out, making positive results inevitable. And, most importantly, people can feel positive changes in their everyday life.

- How do you think what conditioned Azerbaijan`s advances in the Barometer?
- As I have already mentioned achievements in the fight against corruption are the result of the political will of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the concrete tasks entrusted by him to government bodies. The report covers 2012 and partially 2013. I think that if the survey was conducted today, the result would have been much higher because Mr. President has ensured the dynamics of the fight against corruption and conducted systematic, institutional reforms in different areas.
For example, the implementation of the President-approved National Action Plan on Open Government and National Action Plan on Combating Corruption ensure building transparent, open government principle-based management in government bodies and corruption-free management atmosphere. This also includes measures to expand the use of electronic services and develop electronic government.
ASAN service established by the Azerbaijani President ensures the implementation of the services to be rendered by state entities in a unified and coordinated manner without any corruption and other negative cases. Some 230,000 citizens have used ASAN service since its foundation, with 98 percent of the applications provided.
Of course, if a citizen does not face any negative cases when receiving state services and gets a simultaneous access to several state bodies, he will appreciate it and his opinion will be positive. I must stress that ASAN service has justified itself as a good practice and became Azerbaijan`s brand as Mr. President said.
Moreover measures have been taken in order to improve the activities of the Azerbaijan General Prosecutor Office's Anti-Corruption Department for strengthening criminal prosecution with respect to the fight against corruption. The work of the department`s “161” hotline has been fully organized, and the process of considering and responding to the citizens` applications has been improved. Reforms in the internal affairs bodies, particularly increasing transparency in the activities of road patrol service, and the establishment of the “safe city” system have had their effect as well. In general, this can be said of different areas of public management because measures to increase transparency and anti-corruption activity are not limited just to some fields. We constantly observe progress on different fronts.
I think that enlightenment activities and cooperation with members of the civil society has also positively influenced the results.

-The report also shows that the majority of the citizens want to actively participate in the fight against corruption. What is your opinion on this?
- Active participation of all members of society - private sector, the mass media, non-governmental organizations, and citizens – in this process is of profound importance. From this point of view, it`s a positive fact that 81 percent of the respondents expressed their desire to be actively involved in the process. I think we must support citizen initiatives and continue fruitful cooperation with members of civil society.


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