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BAKU -- Azerbaijani government ministries are competing among themselves to see which one has dismissed or punished the largest number of employees as part of an anticorruption drive, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reports.

The Health Ministry says some 21 heads of hospitals, maternity hospitals, and hygienic and epidemiological centers have been sacked since its most recent ministerial session devoted to corruption on January 31.

According to information posted on the ministry website, 54 officials of the ministry have received "disciplinary warnings for shortcomings while organizing public medical service."

The State Commission on Public Service has also disclosed the list of public servants who received "disciplinary punishment warnings for violating ethical rules."

The Ministry of Labor and Public Social Protection tops the list with 117 punished public servants, with the Agriculture Ministry coming last with only two.

But only the State Customs Committee has publicized the names of four employees who were detained on suspicion of being part of a criminal group.

The fact that most of the state bodies only give the numbers of punished individuals and not their names has reminded many of the kind of official deception that was routine in Soviet times.

Local media have reported that some of those "punished or dismissed" are actually being transferred to other departments within the ministry or even being promoted.

Read more in Azeri here
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