“The fish rots from the head!” www.news.mn
There has long been public criticism in Mongolia of top civil servants living lives of luxury using government money. For example, lawmakers regularly use official cars for private ends – such as collecting their children from schools or going on shopping sprees to the boutiques of Zaisan with their wives. “Why should taxpayers pay for this?” is a frequently asked question. But, it is not just MP’s who are being criticized by the public: Also on the list are constitutional court officials, the Attorney General, the directors of the Customs Administration, the not so secretive General Intelligence Agency. To highlight the scale of the problem, officials from Mongolia’s transparency watchdog, the Independent Agency against Anti-Corruption, have been spotted misusing their official vehicles. The problem goes right to the top: Despite public complaints to the Mongolian Cabinet itself, absolutely no action is being taken.The Mongolian Transport Police Department in cooperation with the Civil Service Council have conducted an inspection around five secondary schools where numerous official cars have been seen parked – clearly not on official business. The children of most MPs currently attend high-priced private schools where fees range from MNT 20-75 million per year. This raises an obvious question, when one considers that the monthly salary of Mongolian lawmakers is MNT 1 million: “Where are they getting the money from?” According to the Independent Agency against Anti-Corruption, the total monetary loss through corruption has reached MNT 12 trillion. But, who are they to talk?