A systematic strike against corruption
Corruption as a legal and moral issue
Social and moral problems have been characterized since the beginning of mankind, and during its development process. Regression was also seen when humankind advanced from the time of the prehistoric Neanderthals to the Homo-Sapiens era, and beyond into the post-technological times. Samuel Huntington thought that evolution and regression go in tandem. Moral issues are there where the progress is taking place. The components of the system create mayhem wherever there is a forward momentum. Development, according to Yuval Noah Harari, is a source of various difficulties as well.
Moral degeneration includes corruption as a main component. Its interpretation in terms of legal issues or illegality is pretty evident. Nevertheless, corruption continues to dramatically feed the international crime. However, the character of the subject makes us to adopt specific viewpoints. What is the current state of morality, conscience, and many other moral standards?
Francis Bacon can be considered as the initial philosopher in the history of philosophy who had the most impact on my views. In addition to being a brilliant philosopher who shed new light on philosophy's past, Bacon was also a powerful theorist, and a science visionary who influenced history of mankind. Yet his fresh ideas and distinctive responses were what made him interesting. At the end of the 16th century, the thinker who wrote "New Atlantis" and "Development of Knowledge" was also the driving force behind political movements. It's interesting to note that Bacon, who held many positions in the palace, received numerous gifts and bribes despite his "volume" of intelligence and intellectual capacity. He petitioned the judges for a pardon after an investigation was finally opened against him, but he was unable to avoid being found guilty and losing all of his “elite” political positions. After receiving a pardon from the king, Bacon retreated to his corner and began living off of his pension. He also devoted himself to scientific study since those times. Bacon's speech on the court's verdict is well-known. Bacon, left with nothing but his philosophy, descends into desperate, scathing self-criticism and delivers a speech for the ages:
"I prefer to be a bribe payer than to defend bribery. For fifty years I have been the fairest man in England. But in 200 years, the Parliament has not made a decision as correct as the one it made against me."
The global bribery crisis is becoming more serious.
Today, the world's nations prioritize fighting corruption as one of their primary concerns, but corruption is still is the most important social issue from the most industrialized nations to the less developed 3rd world countries. Since 1995, the anti-corruption organization “Transparency International”, which works in over 100 countries, has released the “Corruption Perceptions Index” annually. According to the mentioned index, the violation of fundamental human rights and freedoms has fallen to an alarming level globally, which has increased corruption. These were the topics that underlined in the report prepared on the index. Although the objectivity of this organization raises serious questions, it cannot be considered a completely reliable source.
Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botswana, Canada, Chile, Cyprus, Guatemala, Honduras, Hungary, Lebanon, Liberia, Luxembourg, Mali, Mongolia, Nicaragua, Philippines, Poland, Saint Lucia, South Sudan, Syria, USA, and Venezuela are the nations that have lost the most points over the past ten years, according to the Corruption Perceptions Index 2021. It seems that corruption persists as a major worldwide illness independent of development criteria.
Several global estimates indicate that even governments that have made substantial strides in the campaign against corruption still face severe problems. In recent years, new bribery indices have been created as a result of increased expense transparency, particularly in the fight against the pandemic. There are signs of deterioration even in economies with historically high statistics. Over the previous ten years, there have reportedly been significant decreases noted in more than 150 countries, according to estimations. The results of current public opinion polls on corruption in EU member states significantly disrupted the long-running propaganda.
Disinformation is utilized in propaganda regarding how effectively the EU combats corruption. For EU residents, corruption is still a major concern because, according to 68% of them, it is still pervasive in their country. The concentration is on national government institutions, where 74% of respondents say that corruption is widespread. Political parties are next (at 58%), followed by local, regional, and national politicians (at 55%). At the same moment, Europeans are sceptical about national-level attempts to make corruption a criminality. Only a small percentage of people think that anti-corruption laws are applied impartially and without bias (37%), that criminal prosecutions are effective enough to deter people from engaging in corrupt behavior (34%), that their national government's anti-corruption initiatives are successful (31%), and that there is enough transparency and oversight over political party funding in their nation (31%). The survey's findings indicate that EU residents don't take the information on corruption seriously. These metrics are deteriorating year after year in the US. So, regardless of the propaganda's delivery, there are still significant issues with the global campaign against corruption. The government's campaign against corruption is frequently superficial or undermines public confidence.
In order to improve the operation of the Prosecutor General's Anti-Corruption Department, the President of Azerbaijan signed a decree on March 11 that boosted the department's total prosecutorial staff by 60 staff units to 100 individuals.
Corruption-fighting model from Azerbaijan.
The government of Azerbaijan has seen a lot of success in its fight against corruption. Important messages on the battle against corruption were delivered by the president. "It is important to take the battle against corruption and bribery more seriously. Here, both administrative and punitive measures need to be boosted. Systemic and institutional reforms need also be implemented more rapidly. The battle shouldn't end for a day or a second. This problem needs to be the main focus at all times."
Former President, and the Great Leader of the nation, Heydar Aliyev signed the Decrees dated August 9, 1994 "On strengthening the fight against crime, strengthening the rule of law and legal order", and "On strengthening the fight against corruption in the Republic of Azerbaijan" dated June 8, 2000.
Heydar Aliyev stated that corruption eats up society from within, and it is everyone's responsibility to fight it. Successive reforms in these areas, and the positive results achieved in recent years have played a significant role in growing economic potential, accelerating state's integration into the global economic system.
The Department of Internal Security was established within the structure of the Ministry of Internal Affairs with the President of Azerbaijan's Decree dated June 30, 2004 on the organization of internal control in law enforcement agencies for the purpose of combating corruption under the State Program. Similar offices were formed in the Taxes, Emergency Situations, Customs Committee, and State Migration Service Departments. Internal control implementation is delegated to a separate structural unit within the State Border Service. The main objective of implementing internal control is to ensure administrative control in state bodies, identify employees who have committed corruption-related offenses, and take necessary action.
By the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated July 24, 2014, on the approval of the Statute of the Chief Anti-Corruption Directorate under the Prosecutor General of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the general composition of the prosecutor's office staff" staff unit was increased from 100 to 140. The Cabinet of Ministers has been tasked with improving the material and technical assistance of this office as well as enhancing the monthly salaries of the prosecutor's office staff and civilian employees working in jobs without special ranks.
Eldar Askerov, who was the deputy head of one of the departments of the Milli Majlis in the past, notes that the continuous fight against corruption, the application of effective mechanisms in accordance with modern challenges related to the prevention of corruption are of particular importance. Consequently, it is vital to progress new initiatives in the fight against corruption at both the international and national levels. The policies put in place in this area should aim to prevent the origins, nature, and effects of corruption-related offenses as well as the circumstances that nurture abuse of power.
The fight against corruption carried out by Mr President is gaining a lot of confidence in public opinion. The absolute majority of the population supports the fight against corruption and bribery.
In the "Confidence Index" surveys conducted by the Center for Social Research, various questions were addressed to the respondents regarding this area. In "Confidence Index 6", 74.9% of the respondents considered the activity of the head of state to be successful in the fight against corruption. The 4th priority direction of the Action Plan of the "National Action Plan for Strengthening the Fight Against Corruption for 2022─2026" approved by the Decree of the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan dated April 4, 2022 (Measures in the field of improving public services and management mechanisms) In the 9th event on "Conducting regular electronic satisfaction surveys through official websites and social networks to evaluate the quality of services provided by state bodies (institutions), involving civil society institutions and public councils in this process", relevant tasks were assigned to SRC.
Today, Azerbaijan has achieved great success in the fight against corruption, and we must always support our country in this matter!
Baku State University's Faculty of Social Sciences and Psychology graduate. Member of the Azerbaijan Writers' Union and senior consultant at the Social Research Center's Press Service.
Bakı Dövlət Universitetinin Sosial Elmlər və Psixologiya fakültəsini bitirib, Azərbaycan Yazıçılar Birliyinin üzvü, Sosial Tədqiqatlar Mərkəzinin Mətbuat Xidmətində sektor müdiridir