Have law­mak­ers vi­o­lated the Con­sti­tu­tion?

The UB Post - - Editorial - By B.MYAGMARDORJ

There have been a wide­spread so­cial move­ments ques­tion­ing how leg­is­la­tors and high level gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who have mis­ap­pro­pri­ated state funds des­ig­nated for small to medium busi­nesses should be held ac­count­able.

Some of you may have heard an on­line protest called “We Will Not For­give”, a youth-led cam­paign de­mand­ing ac­count­abil­ity from the mem­bers of Par­lia­ment ac­cused of abus­ing their power. On Novem­ber 7, some Mon­go­lian stu­dents pur­su­ing mas­ter’s de­grees at Na­tional For­mosa Uni­ver­sity of Tai­wan started this protest to de­mand ac­count­abil­ity.

The founder and the leader of the protest is Bolor­tuya Uu­gan­ba­yar, a for­mer jour­nal­ist at Ea­gle TV of Mon­go­lia. Un­like other protests, the eight­mem­ber team or­ga­niz­ing the protest pub­lished all the or­ga­niz­ers’ pro­file on the Face­book page of the protest, “Áèä Óó÷ëàõã¿é”, to be trans­par­ent and show that the move­ment doesn’t have any hid­den agenda from po­lit­i­cal party or politi­cians.

So far, these youth have sub­mit­ted a re­quest to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court of Mon­go­lia to de­ter­mine whether the mem­bers of Par­lia­ment whose as­so­ciates and fam­ily took out loans from the small and medium-sized en­ter­prise (SME) devel­op­ment fund have breached their con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tions. Ar­ti­cle 23.1 of the Con­sti­tu­tion of Mon­go­lia states that a mem­ber of Par­lia­ment is “an en­voy of the peo­ple and shall rep­re­sent and up­hold the in­ter­ests of all the cit­i­zens and the state”.

Some lo­cal me­dia have re­ported that there are now 13 mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who at some point have been linked to com­pa­nies that took out loans from the SME devel­op­ment fund. There are three law­mak­ers that took out loans for com­pa­nies in which they are the sole share­holder, six that re­ceived loans for com­pa­nies that are run by their fam­ily mem­bers, and four that re­ceived loans for com­pa­nies which they have a share in.

The pub­lic ac­cuse the par­lia­men­tar­i­ans of abus­ing their power, in­flu­ence and po­si­tion to ac­quire loans from the fund. These loans, which have a sub­si­dized an­nual in­ter­est rate of three per­cent and du­ra­tion of up to five years, were meant to help small do­mes­tic busi­nesses, which are the back­bone of Mon­go­lia’s econ­omy. By abus­ing their power and in­flu­ence, these politi­cians and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials have used these funds to fi­nance their own busi­ness ven­tures, in­clud­ing non-bank fi­nan­cial in­sti­tu­tions, which pro­vide loans at an­nual in­ter­est rates of 20 per­cent or higher.

The Con­sti­tu­tion of Mon­go­lia states that mem­bers of Par­lia­ment are ob­li­gated to put the na­tional and pub­lic in­ter­ests first. There­fore, the claim that the protest or­ga­niz­ers sub­mit­ted to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court of Mon­go­lia in­cludes two parts; first to be ex­am­ined is whether there is a breach of any con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tion rel­e­vant to the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of the SME devel­op­ment fund; and sec­ond, if there is a breach of con­sti­tu­tional obli­ga­tions, whether this is suf­fi­cient grounds to im­peach the law­mak­ers in­volved.

These are the two pos­si­ble claims un­der the ob­jec­tive stated in the Con­sti­tu­tion that cit­i­zens of Mon­go­lia may base a claim to the Con­sti­tu­tional Court of Mon­go­lia on un­der Ar­ti­cle 66. A claim was sub­mit­ted to the court on Novem­ber 15. The Con­sti­tu­tional Court is sup­posed to re­spond to the re­quest within 14 af­ter the ap­point­ment of a mem­ber (judge) of the Con­sti­tu­tional Court. As­sum­ing there isn’t any hic­cough, the Con­sti­tu­tional Court is to pro­vide a re­sponse to­day, Novem­ber 30.

On the same day the claim was made to the court, the protest or­ga­niz­ers also sub­mit­ted another com­plaint to Par­lia­ment’s Spe­cial Com­mit­tee on Ethics to de­ter­mine whether the mem­bers of Par­lia­ment breached their eth­i­cal obli­ga­tions un­der the Code of Ethic of Mem­bers of Par­lia­ment. This com­plaint was sent di­rectly to the speaker of Par­lia­ment in ac­cor­dance with the rel­e­vant rules, and the speaker is obliged to re­spond to this re­quest within 30 days af­ter sub­mis­sion.

So far, the only ac­count­abil­ity mea­sure im­posed by the head of the gov­ern­ment, Prime Min­is­ter U.Khurel­sukh, was the de­mand that the mem­bers of Par­lia­ment who were in­volved in the mis­ap­pro­pri­a­tion of the SME fund is­sue an apol­ogy to the pub­lic, which was ac­com­pa­nied by the threat that they won’t re­ceive party sup­port dur­ing fu­ture elec­tions if they fail to do so. But by law, apol­o­giz­ing is not a legally-ac­cepted penalty in the list of the penal­ties stated un­der the rel­e­vant laws and codes. There­fore, even if a pub­lic apol­ogy is made, the peo­ple will not ac­cept it as a ad­e­quate ac­count­abil­ity mea­sure, which is why the protest’s slo­gan is “We will not for­give!”.

Lastly, pro­tes­tors also sub­mit­ted a com­plaint to the In­de­pen­dent Agency Against Cor­rup­tion to ex­am­ine other high-level gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials who are not sub­ject to the Con­sti­tu­tion and can­not be ex­am­ined by the Con­sti­tu­tional Court.

The or­ga­niz­ers of the “We will not for­give!” protest an­nounced that the protest will not end un­less these of­fi­cials are held legally ac­count­able for their wrong­do­ing, and they urge the pub­lic to sup­port the ef­forts to bring jus­tice and ac­count­abil­ity to Mon­go­lia.

...The or­ga­niz­ers of the “We will not for­give!” protest an­nounced that the protest will not end un­less these of­fi­cials are held legally ac­count­able for their

wrong­do­ing...

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