Have lawmakers violated the Constitution?
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