Murder within Ministry
- Prime minister apologizes, fires ministry leadership -
Last week’s most striking news was no doubt the murder that occurred at the Ministry of Roads and Transportation Development on Thursday night.
Initial reports suggested that the murder occurred after ministry officials drank vodka together at their work and two of them started a brawl.
The victim who was only referred to as “G” by the authorities was the head of monitoring, valuation and internal auditing at the ministry, while the perpetrator, referred to as “M”, is the head of state special administration department.
The perpetrator was later identified by some local media to be B.Makhbal, who was appointed in December 2017. He previously served within the Ministry of Mining and Industry until being relieved of duty by Minister D.Sumiyabazar. B.Makhbal used to work alongside President Kh.Battulga when he served as agriculture and industry minister from 2012 to 2014. Some reports also suggest that B.Makhbal has a close relationship with Transport Minister J.Bat-Erdene.
According to the assets declaration submitted to the Independent Authority Against Corruption, the man is extremely wealthy. He has 117 million MNT in his savings account, owns jewelry and valuables worth 480 million MNT, has three apartments, two land properties and three business properties worth 1.57 billion MNT, drives a Lexus 570, and his family makes 229 million MNT a year.
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The Sukhbaatar District Police is currently investigating the case. The police held a press conference regarding the case on Friday.
“The police’s 102 hotline received a report that a person died outside the Ministry of Roads and Transportation Development, located in 1st khoroo of Sukhbaatar District, on August 9,” police spokesperson M.Munkhshur said.
“In response to the call, the Sukhbaatar District Police conducted examination. Preliminary, it was established that 38-year-old G, the head of monitoring, valuation and internal auditing at the ministry, was murdered by the head of the state special administration department, 48-year-old M, and the investigation continues in its evaluation phase. The case is being investigated under the Special Section 10.1 of the Criminal Code. The court hospital will determine the cause of G’s death.”
Curiously enough, although the police refused to reveal the names of the victim and perpetrator, M.Munkhshur went on to explain the cause of the incident. “There are social media reports that the murder occurred over a dispute related to official posts. This is false report. The murder occurred due to an argument over a personal matter.”
When asked for comment on the issue, Roads Minister J.Bat-Erdene told reporters, “I am regretful that such an incident took place. The state secretary has just recently met with the deceased’s family to express condolences. Since the law enforcement is investigating the case, we have no choice but to wait for verdict. Yesterday (Thursday) or the day of the incident, I gave instructions to two of the heads of department. It seems that they drank vodka after work. They argued outside and went over to the statue and fought, which was recorded by the security camera.”
On Sunday afternoon, Minister J.Bat-Erdene tweeted, “I will resign from the minister’s position. I will take ethical responsibility.” He did not provide further explanation but it is implied that with the murder that happened within the ministry, the derailed train in Dornogovi, and road damage across the country caused by flooding, the minister had a turbulent weekend to say the least.
On Sunday evening, Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh held a press conference regarding the incident and dismissed all top officials at the Ministry of Roads and Transportation.
“I express my deepest condolences to the family of the deceased on behalf of the government of Mongolia,” U.Khurelsukh said. “I apologize for the incident which involved higher state officials -- officials who work in leadership positions at the ministry -drinking and brawling and ending one another’s valuable life. This incident clearly illustrates the need to improve discipline and responsibility. I realize that going forward we must continue to work to improve discipline and responsibility at all levels of the government. Hence I relieved of duty the leadership of the ministry, the minister of roads and transportation development, the state secretary at the ministry and the related department heads at the ministry during today’s Cabinet meeting… As Parliament approves the appointment of a minister, and until Parliament discusses the issue, Deputy Minister of Mongolia Enkhtuvshin will act as the minister of roads and transportation. The deputy roads minister and the state secretary were dismissed through the Cabinet meeting too. I also note that these three individuals admitted to their own shortcomings and handed in their resignation,” the prime minister said.
“The Mongolian state must be honest. We must tighten responsibility and discipline. Our people want and demand this from us, and I believe that we must meet this demand in our work as prime minister,” he affirmed.
According to reports by time.mn, four department heads stayed after work at the ministry to drink and two of them ended up arguing, which led to the murder. Even the roads minister himself seemed nonchalant about the fact that higher state officials are drinking alcohol at work, suggesting that this is a regular occurrence.
This reprehensible incident demonstrates a flagrant disregard for the responsibilities and trust placed on the establishment, and serves as a proof of everything wrong within the state. There is something seriously wrong when the highest government bodies appoint individuals who drink and brawl at work and are capable of murder to serve the people. It is even more sickening to think that the hard-earned money of tax payers line the pockets of these disgraceful individuals, whose only qualification is who they know.
The saddest aspect of the story is the public’s reaction toward the incident. The fact that most people didn’t jolt with indignation and were in fact expectantly gloating at the perpetrator speaks volumes about the extent of moral depravity present in our society today as well as the lack of faith in the system.
Minister J.Bat-Erdene’s tweets