U.Khurelsukh demands lawmakers involved in SME loan scandal to apologize

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  • Nov 07,2018
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Following strong public criticisms against Minister of Food, Agriculture and Light Industry B.Batzorig in relation to the issuance of loans for Develop Small and Medium-sized Enterprises to lawmakers’ associates, B.Batzorig decided to resign from the minister’s position to take responsibility. Many believe that the Mongolian People’s Party (MPP) caucus and Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh demanded B.Batzorig’s resignation unofficially.

On November 5, Deputy Prime Minister U.Enkhtuvshin handed over a government proposal to review the resignation of B.Batzorig to Speaker of Parliament. A meeting of the Standing Committee on Environment, Food, and Agriculture was held on November 6 to review the proposal. As the majority of the standing committee’s members supported the proposal, Parliament reviewed the resignation of B.Batzorig on the same day. On Tuesday, B.Batzorig stepped down from his position within U.Khurelsukh’s Cabinet with a 60 percent vote.

When Parliament discussed the resignation of B.Batzorig, Democratic Party (DP) lawmakers attended the session despite having taken a “break” from parliamentary sessions. Caucus Chairman of DP D.Erdenebat said that DP lawmakers participated in the session as Parliament reviewed a topic related to the caucus’ requests to Cabinet.

Legislator Ya.Sanjmyatav of DP said, “I do not believe that by his interest, B.Batzorig allowed lawmakers to take out loans from the fund, and he did it at the requests of the MPP-led Cabinet and Parliament.”

During the meeting, Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh pointed out that the two main goals of his Cabinet is to bring justice to society, strengthen discipline and ensure accountability and transparency in the state apparatus, and to deal with economic challenges. The prime minister stated that the government is successfully working to address economic decline facing the country, but other goals are still facing challenges.

U.Khurelsukh stressed that he feels the public “hunger” for justice. He emphasized that people are asking the government to focus on promoting justice rather economic challenges. He added that MPP will discuss the ways to bolster justice in state apparatuses in all level and society soon. U.Khurelsukh said, “We will discuss whether the current Parliament and Cabinet should keep upholding their authorities or not soon.” He noted that the government is trying to make efforts, but sometimes it has failed.

Chairman of MPP U.Khurelsukh highlighted that he instructed all lawmakers whose associates and family members took out loans from the fund to repay the loans immediately, and apologize to the people if they want the party’s support in future elections. The prime minister underlined that if he cannot succeed in justice reform, he will ask for the public’s support, and if his reforms fail, he will disband his Cabinet voluntarily. U.Khurelsukh said, “The ongoing hunger for justice is not today’s problem, and it is also not a problem of MPP alone, and is related to all political parties, including DP.”

“As I am afraid of breaking the public’s trust, I am ready to collaborate with Parliament and the president to carry out justice reform,” he noted. The prime minister then called on the oppositions party’s lawmakers to stop making political moves for the next election.

On November 5, the General Prosecutor put forward a request to revoke lawmaker B.Batzorig’s immunity to Speaker of Parliament M.Enkhbold to investigate recent controversial issues regarding the SME loan misappropriation. Under the law, Parliament must respond to the General Prosecutor’s proposal within 48 hours, meaning that lawmakers must to make a decision on this issue today.