MPP defends scandal hit MP over SME fund www.news.mn
The public will be watching Mongolian Prime Minister U.Khurelsukh’s government for its reaction to massive allegations of misuse of its Small & Medium Enterprise Fund.
In 2009, the Mongolian government expanded a fund to support small and medium enterprises (SME’s). This provided companies with low-interest loans at 3 percent interest for up to five years and contained 2 billion Mongolian Tugrik (roughly USD 780,000 at today’s exchange rate). The fund is reported to have dispersed loans totalling nearly 700 billion tugrik, amounting to several hundred million U.S. dollars. The fund was created in and continues to be overseen by the Ministry of Food, Agriculture, and Light Industry.
However, many of the companies that received loans are tied to prominent politicians through ownership of the SMEs that benefited. The allegation led the current minister of food, agriculture, and light industry, B Batzorig, a member of parliament for the ruling Mongolian People’s Party (MPP), to offer his resignation. A specific allegation is that the minister’s wife had been directly benefiting from the SME fund. Last week, the chief prosecutor requested the State Great Khural (parliament) to revoke B. Batzorig’s parliamentary immunity, however, it refused to do so, It should be noted that the house is dominated by the MPP.