OECD Anti-corruption Network: High level corruption is pervasive in Mongolia

The Mongol Messenger
anudari@montsame.gov.mn
2019-08-02 14:05:52

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/ Petty corruption has been gradually declining in Mongolia, but overall, corruption is still widespread and high level corruption is pervasive in Mongolia, a report of the Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia says, warning to take substantial measures to increase public servants’ accountability and ethics. The importance of confirmation of the officials’ tax returns and the absence of the system of whistleblower protection is also emphasized in the report.

On July 30, the Anti-Corruption Network for Eastern Europe and Central Asia (ACN) of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development held a briefing about the report of 4th round of monitoring of Mongolia under the Istanbul Anti-Corruption Action Plan.

Launched in 2003, the Istanbul Action Plan supports anti-corruption reforms in regional countries through country reviews and continuous monitoring of participating countries’ implementation of recommendations to assist in the implementation of the UN Convention against Corruption and other international standards and best practice. Mongolia joined the Istanbul Action Plan in September 2012. The 4th round of monitoring of Mongolia was launched in August 2018. The experts gathered information from representatives of governmental and nongovernmental organizations and bisunesspeople. The report was adopted at the ACN/Istanbul Action Plan Plenary Meeting in Paris on March 21, 2019.

The report covers three main topics: Anti-corruption policy, Prevention of corruption, Enforcement of criminal responsibility for corruption and specifically raises the issue regarding political party financing. It also features 29 recommendations for the government of Mongolia. It was reported that only one of the 19 third round monitoring recommendations made in 2015 was fully implemented. The recommendation regarding public financial control and audit has been fully compliant with, five of the 19 has not been addressed, and the rest have been partially dealt with, the report shows.

The Criminal Code entered into force in 2017 introduced improvements in regulating bribery and illicit enrichment offences. However, a number of international standards have not yet been reflected in the Criminal Code, the report says. In general, it is noted that leniency of the sanctions is giving an opportunity to avoid conviction.

Independent Expert Vitalii Kasko told which drew attention were the short statute of limitations and too broad scope of immunities applied to extensive list of public officials.

ACN Consultant Andrii Kukharuk underlined that Mongolia has ensured the involvement of civil society organisations in the development and implementation of national anti-corruption policy and measures, however, disregarded the policy implementation period and result evaluation. Also, even though it conducts numerous corruption surveys and provides anti-corruption information, the relevant organization does not ensure effective use of the results and include those in its action plan, he said.

The Independent Authority Against Corruption has continued and somewhat stepped up its policy coordination and prevention work, however it lacked independence, resources, and necessary support from state bodies to fully exercise its mandate, the report says.

It also notes that politicization of appointments is still there even with the new Law on Civil Service, suggesting to give emphasis to competitiveness of civil service salaries and ensure transparent and fair remuneration.

The experts commended the launch of e-procurement system, however, cited that the applicability of the public procurement law has not been widened, but instead, further public sector entities have been excluded from the law. The contract value with those selected from open competition has been receded and the Government has not prioritized business integrity measures.

Mr. Vitalii Kasko reported the independence of judges is not ensured and warned that political bodies, especially the president, are involved and have significant discretion in it. The report highlights shortcomings in the procedure of the selection of judges and calls on Mongolia to ensure merit-based appointment to judicial posts. Ensuring both external autonomy of the Prosecutor’s Office and internal independence of prosecutors are the most challenging issues for the Mongolian prosecution service, it says.

The report recommends establishing a separate disciplinary body and consider establishing an independent system of prosecutorial self-governance.

In the conclusion of the briefing, it was underscored that the financing of political parties remains to be poorly regulated, encouraging Mongolia to adopt a comprehensive legal framework on political party financing.