‘Corruption cases will not be processed in simplified manner’

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During its plenary session on December 15, Parliament discussed the draft amendments to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code, submitted by the government the previous day, in connection with the ongoing peaceful demonstration that started on December 4. Citizens are demanding the government take decisive and swift actions to resolve the coal theft allegations.

The draft amendments include provisions such as prohibiting the court to rule light sentences to cases of corruption and abuse of power or office by state officials and instead, make sentences stricter.

State Secretary of the Ministry of Justice and Internal Affairs P.Sainzorig informed, “The draft amendments include the demands made by protesters. There will be no pardon or forgiveness in cases of corruption and abuse of official positions. We will omit Article 22.1 of the Criminal Code, which stipulates that those who commit the crime of abusing their power and position will be fined. The bill states that no fine will be imposed for abuse of official position.”

“Deprivation of the rights of a person who commits the crimes specified in Chapter 22 of the Criminal Code will be aggravated. In other words, a person involved in the crime of corruption will not be employed in public service for the remainder of their life. This is in line with the provisions of the Law on Elections, which prohibit persons involved in corruption and official crimes from running in all levels of election. The draft amendment states that corruption and office cases will not be processed in a simplified manner,” he said.

In accordance with the bill, if the mandate of an official whose immunity is guaranteed by the Criminal Code has not been suspended by the relevant authority or official, the statute of limitations for the crime is to be terminated and the statute of limitations will begin counting after the termination of the mandate. Assets and income obtained through abuse of office and corruption will be confiscated and made into state revenue, regardless of whether the statute of limitations for the crime has expired or not. The punishment policy for corruption and official crimes will be strengthened, including increasing the maximum penalty for corruption and official crimes from five to 12 years to 12 to 20 years, bill initiators reported.

Cabinet will also submit a draft amendment to the Law on Anti-Corruption to Parliament. It stipulates that the Independent Authority Against Corruption will check the personal interest declarations of members of Parliament. In accordance with the current law, the Parliamentary Ethics Subcommittee monitors them, P.Sainzorig stressed.

During the session, Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene remarked, “Three basic legal changes are urgently needed in order to protect the country’s independence, sovereignty and democratic parliamentary rule. As the prime minister of Mongolia, I would like to reiterate that I will not back down from this fight against corruption. I am confident that the draft amendments will be discussed and approved.”

First, he emphasized the need for legal changes to address income inequality. Mongolia’s economy has grown by 17 times since 1992, but there has been no significant change in the quality of life of citizens. The wealth of Mongolia was unfairly concentrated in the hands of a few people and the mining wealth could not become a real income for the citizens. Party affiliation does not matter when fighting corruption. Corruption is a “cancer” in the Mongolian state, the premier described. In the coming days, the government will submit the bills on mining exchange, publicizing state-owned factories, wealth fund and unified savings fund to Parliament, the premier underlined.

Mentioning that it is necessary to ensure the right of citizen representation, Prime Minister L.Oyun-Erdene called on parliamentarians, political parties, civil society organizations and the people to establish a National Consensus Working Group and carry out a comprehensive legal reform to expand the right of citizen representation and citizen control. Due to income inequality and systemic distortions, Parliament has long been perceived as a representative body of the ruling “class” rather than a representative body of citizens, he said.

Thirdly, L.Oyun-Erdene said that the accountability system should be strengthened. In this regard, the draft amendments to the Criminal Code and Criminal Procedure Code include strict penal policies.

At the session, Member of Parliament N.Altankhuyag commented, “There are thieves in both the Democratic Party and Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), but most of them have remained in your party. You can’t announce the names of a few people and protect the real thieves. Please reveal the remaining contracts.”

Legislator B.Purevdorj expressed, “For seven years, MPP has won an absolute majority. I demand the government to take responsibility for appointing plenipotentiary representatives on the local property under the control of the public without holding your officials, leaders and heads accountable.”

“Now we just need to do real work. We need to act quickly and make the necessary changes to the relevant laws. Let’s close the door to the theft of our country’s wealth. Some people are trying to diffuse the issue of coal. DP made a demand to the National Security Council. Therefore, the council has submitted information to Parliament. The Office of the National Security Council is responsible for this issue,” Speaker of Parliament G.Zandanshatar addressed.

Misheel Lkhasuren