Information of the Public Relations Department of the State Security Service
May 12, 2020
The State Security Service has taken relevant measures to protect the historical and cultural monuments considered to be the cultural and historical heritage of the Azerbaijani people and to prevent illegal actions of some officials harming the legally protected interests of citizens and the state and casting a shadow on the activities of authorities.
In the course of the investigations, information was obtained about the abuse of official powers and numerous illegal actions causing significant damage to the legally protected interests of citizens, society and the state by Deputy Minister of Culture of the Republic of Azerbaijan Rafig Bayramov and the Head of the State Service of Cultural Heritage Conservation, Development and Rehabilitation under the Ministry of Culture Zakir Sultanov.
During the search conducted on May 8, 2020 by the State Security Service on the basis of the court decision at the place of residence and in the offices of Rafig Bayramov and Zakir Sultanov, various notes on the amounts of funds accepted by officials of the Ministry of Culture, cash in various currencies, other documents and material evidence of importance to the case were found and seized.
In the course of the investigation, there were substantial suspicions that Zakir Sultanov had been constantly embezzling part of the funds allocated from the state budget for the necessary work on protection, restoration, reconstruction of historical monuments and cultural artefacts that are the centuries-old cultural and historical heritage of the Azerbaijani people.
As part of the current criminal case, the information related to the misuse of powers to issue official permissions in exchange for money for reconstruction of architectural buildings that relate to cultural heritage is under investigation.
Besides, there were substantial suspicions that Rafig Bayramov arranged extra hours for teachers of music schools operating in the districts, and received funds withheld from their salary, as well as from other illegal sources through the heads of regional departments of the Ministry of Culture every month.
It was also revealed that Rafig Bayramov personally and through the heads of regional departments of the Ministry of Culture regularly cashed and embezzled part of the state funds allocated for the construction and maintenance of music schools, houses of culture, libraries, art schools, galleries, clubs, museums and other cultural institutions in the country.
In a criminal case being investigated by the State Security Service, Rafig Bayramov has been charged for abuse of office, embezzlement and official forgery, and Zakir Sultanov is accused of abuse of office and embezzlement under the relevant articles of the Criminal Code of the Republic of Azerbaijan and both were remanded in custody by the court’s decision.
Investigations are underway.