Influential people in politics, public life, and business on occasion abuse power and positions of authority, and award untoward priority to others, thereby restricting the opportunities of citizens and creating inequality. This holds back the country's development and negatively affects the evaluation of international organizations, leading to a decrease in public trust in the government.
It is therefore vital to implement a long-term and medium-term target program with measures to stop the abuse of positions of power, to effectively implement the fight against corruption, and to increase the confidence of citizens in the government.
For this reason, the Mongolian Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) or ‘Anti-Corruption Agency’ was established and National Anti-Corruption Strategy was developed.
In 2020, the Mongolian Parliament approved Vision 2050, which aims to “build smart and sustainable governance ensuring human development, foster a mature civil service with optimal administrative and organizational structure, create fully functional and people-centered state e-services, and promote enhanced cooperation between state, private sector, and civil society in all areas” as well as developing respect for human rights and the equal application of the rule of law in Mongolia.
Article 2, provision 21.1 of the Mongolian Anti-Corruption Law stipulates that the Parliament of Mongolia approves the National Anti-Corruption Strategy and approves the action plan for its implementation within the period specified in the National Anti-Corruption Strategy.
Based on the above, a National Anti-Corruption Strategy in line with Mongolia’s long-term development policy and objectives was developed. This contains a total of 10 goals, 45 objectives, and 224 targeted activities. The strategy will be implemented from 2023 until 2030, in accordance with the implementation period of Mongolia's medium-term development programs.
The Anti-Corruption Strategy identifies a number of objectives that complement the government’s existing anti-corruption programme. These include strengthening a corruption-free public service, effective participation of citizens, the involvement of civil society and media in this area of work, the independence of state institutions, reducing the risk of corruption in the budget and procurement process, as well as tackling theft, embezzlement, and wasteful spending.
The IAAC undertook recommendations from international financial institutions and development organisations as well as basing the strategy on more than 40 laws, including the Criminal Law, the Anti-Corruption Law, the Law on the Regulation of Public and Private Interests in Public Service, and the Prevention of Conflict of Interest.
The national strategy complements the government’s previously announced “5-Sh” anti-corruption initiative focusing on 5 key programme areas, namely: whistleblowing, removal of corrupt public officials (Clean Sweep), extradition and repatriation of those under indictment, asset recovery, and transparency. The government has also recently submitted three laws for adoption in the parliamentary spring session, namely the protection of whistleblowers, campaign finance reform, and the transparency of state-owned companies.
Anti-Corruption Strategy Goals
The first goal is to improve the will, effort, leadership, and transparency in the fight against corruption in the political sphere.
This goal outlines the objectives aimed at improving the legal framework to:
The identified objectives are aimed at reducing election costs and creating equal competitive opportunities in Mongolian political life.
The second goal comprises six objectives to strengthen the civil service and ensure it is free of corruption.
The plan aims to eliminate conflicts of interest by creating conditions for a professional and robust civil service. In addition, it will:
Ensuring citizens' supervision over any decision made by the state and laws drafted will make a valuable contribution to Mongolia’s fight against corruption. In addition, the plan includes measures to be taken to create an integrated digital system of discrepancies in wages and welfare; make civil service vacancies publicly available; determine objective eligibility for the civil service; revise the corruption risk assessment; and effectively and efficiently assess operational risks.
The third goal includes four objectives to strengthen the effective control and participation of citizens, public organizations, and the media in anti-corruption measures.
The implementation of "Vision 2050", Mongolia's long-term development policy, requires measures to support government, civil society, and private sector partnerships. This includes ensuring the fundamental rights of citizens, as well as genuine and inclusive participation of citizens and civil society in the development, decision-making, implementation, and evaluation of government policies.
The Government will also make additional efforts to provide information that meets the standards of transparency of government information and open information, protecting the rights of whistle-blowers, witnesses, journalists, and victims, as well as ending existing agreements between government organizations and state-owned media entities.
These objectives will ensure that Mongolia’s transparency and accountability are brought in line with international standards and best practices.
The fourth goal is to create a culture of zero tolerance for corruption in the private sector.
This will introduce international best practices in ethics and compliance, reducing the risks of money laundering acquired from corruption and building a system and culture that will attract foreign direct investment through increased trust and transparency.
Measures to improve the arbitration process, and to strengthen the capacity to resolve disputes between investors and others have also been included. In addition, corporate social responsibility (CSR) standards will be introduced, aligning with the goals set out in "Vision 2050".
The fifth goal is to ensure the autonomy and independence of anti-corruption agencies and to reduce the risk of internal influence.
This includes measures aimed at strengthening the autonomy and independence of the IAAC, prosecutors, and the judiciary and the restoration of citizens’ trust in the courts.
The Government will establish a unit to detect stolen assets, conduct financial investigations, protect witnesses, victims, and informants, and provide security to whistleblowers.
Risk assessments and counteractive measures for corruption will be introduced by strengthening the cooperation between the National Audit Office and the IAAC. This represents the best international practice and will contribute to the end of the embezzlement of public funds.
The sixth goal is to improve the legal framework and relevant legal regulations, including, but not limited to:
The seventh goal has been defined as improving budget, financial, and audit control and reducing the risk of corruption in procurement. This includes measures such as:
Expenditures not included in the budget, such as paying extra-budgetary expenditures from the budget of state-owned legal entities, paying public debt, or spending on social welfare, are prohibited. A government asset management system will be created.
There will be a revaluation of state-owned assets to reduce the probability of misappropriation for personal gains through asset disposal and to create appropriate conditions for the revaluation and registration of intangible assets, such as intellectual property, as well as appointing the state audit as a plaintiff on behalf of the state.
The eighth goal aims to create a transparent, efficient, and liable control system for the governance of state-owned and local legal entities in accordance with international standards.
This goal focuses on contract law, clarifying the legal status of state-owned and local companies; reducing the number of appointments made by the state; introducing competitive selection methods based on professional capabilities; and extending contracts based on performance results.
These measures have been included to prevent corruption and conflict of interest, to reduce the participation and influence of high-ranking government officials and politically influential individuals, to improve the profitability of state-owned companies, and to support businesses’ professional activities autonomously and independently from the government.
In addition, implementing measures such as conducting risk evaluation in the state-owned legal entities, establishing criteria for liquidation and creation of new ones, gradually reducing dependence on the state by trading their shares on the stock exchange, introducing a dividend policy to the state-owned companies, and ensuring oversight of the activities of the natural resources income funds are essential.
The ninth goal will organize educational activities to create long-term cultural change in the fight against corruption.
In addition to raising public awareness of the functions of law enforcement agencies, efforts will be made to support the new whistleblowing system and protect whistleblowers. These educational activities are aimed at preserving and protecting children’s ethics and shaping social ethics in the long run. Mongolia will develop a culture of zero tolerance towards corruption from an early age.
Educating voters is crucial in the fight against corruption. To improve the legal knowledge and education of voters, a long-term ethical shift will occur in the Mongolian government from the government to the citizenry as a whole.
The final tenth goal is the establishment of a corruption prevention system with special functions for disaster prevention, emergency operations, and national security.
Emergency management and organizations with special functions have the power to conceal huge expenses by classifying them as confidential. This carries a high risk of corruption and conflicts of interest. It is, therefore, necessary to reduce the risk of corruption in the expenditure of the state budget, donation and aid from international organizations, and procurement as well as the purchase of goods for risk funds.
A legal framework will be established to declassify and disclose all procurement and expenditure not related to the strategic resources of the abovementioned institutions and defense resources. In addition, a methodology for corruption risk assessment in unforeseen situations that may arise in the future will be developed, while taking precautionary and risk prevention measures. The strategy has been drafted in line with more than 40 laws, as well as recommendations from international financial regulatory and development organizations.
The measures defined within the National Anti-Corruption Strategy will be implemented based on the participation and cooperation of the government, the private sector, civil society, international organizations, the media, and Mongolian citizens.
As a result, the international assessment of corruption in Mongolia will improve year by year. This will have myriad benefits to the people, businesses, and civil servants of Mongolia and improve the country’s future for generations to come.