"A new social culture where corruption is met with public disgust”

2021-08-03 10:33:07

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. Mongolians say “Autumn arrives the day after Naadam holiday,” which is usually interpreted as a lot of work await us ahead. Among them is a decision made at the cabinet’s irregular meeting that incorporates a significant goal. On July 16, 2021, the government established a working group responsible for eliminating corruption, cutting "red tape" and improving corruption index scores. Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs Kh.Nyambaatar will head the working group, and was charged with developing a plan with intensives measures in this regards.

Transparency International, the global civil society organization headquartered in Berlin, Germany, which ranks 180 countries and territories by their levels of public sector corruption according to experts and businesspeople, announced, the Corruption Perception Index for 2020 on January 28, showing the overall 35 points out of 100 for Mongolia in 2020, placing the country at 111th out of 180 countries.

Compared to the previous year, Mongolia’s rating dropped by five places due to factors such as bribery and abuse of functions by public sector officials as well as increasing bureaucratic corruption faced by businesspeople to maintain their operations and establish contracts and agreements, the study shows. A clear example of bureaucratic corruption in public services would be the recent problems that surfaced at the Zamiin-Uud border checkpoint due to the unsuccessful implementation of government decisions at the primary and mid level.

The working group aims to eliminate corruption and improve the corruption index of Mongolia within next two years to bring Mongolia’s rating into the first 100s, while the regulatory framework – the underlying factor causing the bureaucratic corruption will be improved, and the digital transition of services will be accelerated.

At the first meeting of the working group that was held on July 19, Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene said, "There have been various achievements and challenges in the past three decades. Among the failures are corruption and briberies in government organizations, which greatly affects the quality of life for the population and hinders the process in creating the middle class. Despite many achievements made in combatting against corruption, there is still room for improvement. Therefore, the working group has been established to take a wide range of measures aimed at eliminating the corruption in its soil.”

He further continued, “In any given country, an executive branch combats the corruption. That is why the government will exert all its efforts to tackle corruption in cooperation with law enforcement and corruption agencies. A new social culture where the public is disgusted about corruption will be built within the next two years.”

Public services are tagged along with bribery and bureaucratic procedures due to the failures in implementing government decisions at the primary and mid level, as stated by the Prime Minister. “A weekly surveillance study will be conducted to identify and tackle the areas and organizations with the most corrupt mechanisms. Anti-corruption efforts must be taken by not only the parliament and law enforcement organizations, but also each and every individual of the country,” said the PM. As mentioned by him, Mongolia needs to have legislations for whistleblowers as well as the political parties' financing.

PM Oyun-Erdene also emphasized the necessity to improve legislations that are lacking in the judiciary system, to create an independent judicial system that focuses on corruption cases, and to address breaches in judicial integrity and fight nepotism in cooperation with the parliamentary standing committee on ethics. “If public sector transparency is ensured, there will be no problems concerning corruption in the private sector.” A detailed action plan will be formulated in aims of making Mongolia corruption-free.

As a reminder on what the PM has previously stated about efforts against corruption, on February 10, 2021, he assured that development projects in the country will continue as normal with proper attention given to digital transition. “Public procurement will become fully online, and a bill on transparency in the financing of political parties will be approved, helping Mongolia’s efforts to improve its rating in the corruption index. Moreover, strict adherence to the rules on income and asset disclosure will be ensured, and failure to comply will be followed by criminal penalty.”

On May 10, 2021. PM Oyun-Erdene noted, “A total of 516 public services have become digital, and more services provided by government ministries will be added. A team headed by Minister of Justice and Internal Affairs Nyambaatar will draft a bill that will enable the use of e-signature and create the regulatory environment on personal information. Also, each server being used by government organizations will be connected to private servers, which will allow each citizen to have their own unique 10-digit code, getting rid of various identification numbers, such as the numbers for registration, driver's licenses, and health insurance books. All of these steps are ultimately directed at reducing bureaucracy and corruption. Each ministry must join these efforts as their fight against corruption.”  With that saying, Mongolia has begun its efforts to create a new social culture where corruption is met with public disgust.

By N.Saranchimeg