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The Business Of Charity In Azerbaijan

A Baku-based charity, Kosmos Galaktika, is in hot water in Azerbaijan, after around 300 people have claimed they have fallen victim to fraud by the organization. So incensed, those claiming the fraud protested in front of parliament on November 25.

They allege that the president of the company, Sevda Khalilova, collected between $3,000 and $160,000 from people as a bribe to employ them in different positions in the charity, which according to its website "promotes provision of abandoned orphans and children in difficult life situation with new and reliable future."

The Interior Ministry has confirmed that the law-enforcement agency is aware of the fraud allegations and said that 23 connected cases have already been documented, although no criminal case has been filed yet.

The sad fact about this case is the likely motivation of those who paid the bribes. Why were people so willing to pay so much in bribes to work for this charity? Is it that "diverted" aid money in itself can be a such a lucrative business?

-- Ismayilova Khadija

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