Corruption is pervasive in Azerbaijan. According to Transparency International and its Corruption Perception Index 2013, the country was ranked 127 of 177, with the score 28 (up from 27 in 2012). Huge reserves of oil, natural gas and other minerals and the adjacent revenues are controlled by state-owned companies or by those owned by loyalists of the ruling party (even though foreign companies are also very active). Political system is autocratic, thus there are few obstacles to preservation of an authoritarian, corrupt petro-state. A report of the London-based NGO Global Witness finds that “millions of dollars of revenue disappear into the hands of obscurely owned private companies with the apparent cooperation of the government-controlled state oil company”. Access to information on
those, by citizens or watchdog groups, is hindered due to the restricted media freedom. According to the Freedom House, the President Ilham Aliyev (the son of the previous leader of the country), a number of state officials and their families have amassed significant personal wealth. There are government plans for combating corruption, though, such as the latest 2012-2015 national action plan. Obstacles to it rest in the immunity of politicians. Yet in 2013, an MP was for the first time stripped of immunity and convicted for corruption. Majority of cases reported and investigated are those of the low-level, such as policemen or medics. Additional problem is awareness. Global Corruption Barometer 2013 has shown that public perceived exactly those low level public servants as the most corrupt: doctors (44%), judges (42%) and policemen (41%), ahead of public officials (37%) or MPs (28%).