1 February 2019

The Mongolian parliament this week voted to oust House Speaker Miyegombyn Enkhbold, in a tussle for two months in the country’s politics involving multiple corruption scandals. Enkhbold’s dismissal came after the passing of new legislation on January 18 which requires only a simple majority for MPs to oust the speaker who has extensive powers granted by the Mongolian constitution.

Fourteen parliamentarians, two cabinet members and other high-ranking officials were accused in November of embezzling more than $1m in government funds. The Prime Minister did not take any action against the embezzlers.

Enkhbold initiated a vote-of-no-confidence against his own party’s Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh, demanding accountability for the SME funds. Khurelsukh narrowly survived the vote, with 40 MPs backing him and 33 going against him.

Khurelsukh and his circle accused Enkhbold of selling cabinet positions in the MPP’s future administration in exchange for campaign funds. The allegations against former speaker Enkhbold have been mounting since the 2016 parliamentary election.

On December 18, less than three weeks after the vote-of-no-confidence, Mongolian news agency Ikon reported that Prime Minister Khurelsukh’s brother had received $520,000 from the state’s SME fund. So far there hasn’t been any action against the prime minister’s brother.

 In Mongolia there are 30 government funds similar to SME. An embezzlement network has been milking these funds over the last two years. The embezzlement was with the connivance of the Prime Minister. Enkhbold was trying to keep the SME scandal in the public eye.   Khurelsukh’s supporters organised two protests to back the calls for the speaker’s resignation.