Government Expediting Works to Resolve Coal Theft Allegations

2022-12-14 12:11:16

Ulaanbaatar /MONTSAME/. Since December 4, peaceful demonstrations is taking place at the central square by citizens demanding the government take decisive and swift actions to resolve the coal theft allegations.

As demanded by the demonstrators, specific measures are being taken by the President of Mongolia, the State Great Khural, the Government, and law enforcement agencies. For instance, a number of working groups have been set up and investigations are underway in accordance with the demonstrators' demands to reveal the violations in the coal sector.

The following decisions were made to resolve the current issue for the past few days:

December 5.

-The Chairman of the State Great Khural issued an ordinance to set up a working group to organize a public hearing on the coal theft allegations.

-The State Great Khural convened virtually to hear reports by the law enforcement agencies regarding the issue.

December 6.

-Prime Minister L. Oyun-Erdene held a press briefing, pledging that the Government would put concerted efforts to bring justice to the issues surrounding the coal theft allegations. Moreover, as chairman of the ruling party in the parliament, he expressed readiness to dissolve the State Great Khural before its legal term if necessary, announcing that he would initiate negotiations with political parties and other stakeholders on this matter.

-The Directors of the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC), the General Intelligence Agency (GIA), and the National Police Agency (NPA) issued a joint order on establishing a working group to look into the criminal cases related to coal mining, export, transportation, and payment.

December 7.

-The President met with the representatives of the Cabinet and the heads of law enforcement agencies and tasked to expedite works on resolving the coal theft allegations. He then warned the authorities that the time is near to dissolve the State Great Khural and the Cabinet before their legal terms and grant the citizens’ right to vote as provided by the relevant law unless the issues are promptly resolved.

-The Cabinet established a working group to speed up investigations regarding the coal theft allegations.

-The Standing Committee on Economy of the State Great Khural decided to organize a public hearing on the issues of coal shipment and exports on December 21. At the public hearing, the information on offtake contracts established by “Erdenes Tavantolgoi” JSC,  the enterprises that mined coking coal in the country and the amount of the output; the enterprises that transported coking coal and their revenue; and the detailed information on the coking coal exported through all border checkpoints of Mongolia will be presented.

December 8.

-During the State Great Khural session, a decision was made to extend the working period of the ad hoc committee in charge of investigating the difficulties encountered in cargo, transport, coal entry, and free zone operations at border ports by six months.

December 9.

-An emergency regime was imposed for “Tavantolgoi” JSC for a duration of six months and State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs P. Sainzorig was appointed as the Government’s Special Representative.

-The Government disclosed nine contracts related to "Erdenes Tavantolgoi" JSC, which were classified as confidential.

-Minister of Justice and Home Affairs Kh. Nyambaatar and Chief of the NPA J. Bold were tasked to regularly provide the public with accurate and prompt information regarding the progress of the cases and investigation related to the ongoing issue.

-The Ministry of Digital Development and Communications and the Ministry of Mining and Heavy industry agreed to expedite works to establish a Minerals Commodities Exchange in cooperation with the private sector.

December 12.

-At its irregular meeting, the Cabinet resolved to have independent experts audit the operations of “Erdenes Tavantolgoi” JSC, offer the shares of the company to the public through the stock exchange, and publicly disclose the company’s procurement contracts on an official website.

-The Cabinet decided to impose a 6-month emergency regime for “Tavantolgoi Railways” JSC and appointed a special representative.

December 13.

-With the permission of the Prosecutor General’s Office, the IAAC released the names of the companies and their owners and executives that signed contracts with “Erdenes Tavantolgoi” JSC on coal transportation, purchase, and sales in addition to the details of the contracts. As disclosed by the IAAC, from January 1, 2018, to December 1, 2022, the company established 633 (double-counted) coal sales agreements. In the reference period, the company signed 576 procurement contracts worth MNT 20 million or more. As of today, 398 companies are carrying out coal shipments from the Tavantolgoi deposit to the Gantsmod border port.

-The names of 17 people who are being investigated by the IAAC were revealed. The IAAC underscored that it was revealed during the investigations that these people are directly or indirectly involved in the coal theft allegations, and the court will decide whether they are guilty or not.

December 14.

-The Cabinet decided to submit the amendments to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code to the State Great Khural for a prompt discussion. The amendment includes provisions such as prohibiting the court to charge minor sentences to cases of corruption and abuse of power or office by a state official and stiffening sentences.

Related news