SOCAR’s clarification to the demolition of illegally built houses
Since 2010 SOCAR has been bringing legal actions on a large scale, to demolish and remove illegally built houses belonging to SOCAR, in various parts of Baku. Until today SOCAR has made more than 15 000 claims, more than 4000 of which have been ruled in favor of SOCAR and some are still being processed. There is confusion in the media and the press regarding the subject matter of the legal actions taken by SOCAR. We are simply seeking to claim physical possession of the lands that legally belong to SOCAR. Certain municipality authorities have abused and continue to abuse their powers by carrying out illegal sale of the mentioned lands to the members of the public. These lands are contaminated with oil waste and still have oil and gas reservoirs. Accordingly, the said areas are absolutely unsuitable for residence purposes.
It is well known that, SOCAR is a party to Production Sharing Agreements (PSAs), which impose obligations on SOCAR. The illegal occupation of these lands makes SOCAR unable to fulfill its obligations regarding the provision of lands under the PSAs, which can result in arbitration or court actions against SOCAR, hence the Azerbaijani Government. It is also worth noting that, SOCAR has repeatedly informed the public about the unsuitability of these lands for residence and the illegality of such constructions. Our aim is to stop the public from building houses that are illegal and endanger health and safety of our citizens.
During the past few days incidents regarding the members of the press and the public have been published in some news sources. These incidents are currently being investigated by the committee specifically established for this purpose, on 19 April 2012 and punitive actions will be taken towards those at fault. In the meantime, this incident is being investigated by the law enforcement bodies of Azerbaijan.