The office of the President of Mongolia, Public Relations & Communications Division


Speech of President Elbegdorj at Introduction of Partnering Against Corruption Initiative

The Office of the President of Mongolia and the World Economic Forum co-organized Partnering Against Corruption Initiative session in Citizens’ Hall at the Presidency of Mongolia.

Tsakhia Elbegdorj, President of Mongolia made opening remarks for the session. President Elbegdor said: “Government, and any person and business can be affected by corruption – a bad phenomenon that exists all the time. Concisely saying corruption is similar to infectious diseases. For Mongolia it is important that our citizens need to initiate and join global initiatives within international framework. In my understanding an anti-corruption movement is an international borderless movement. Today interdependence of countries, businesses and investments are not limited by borders of countries. From this we can see that instead of talking about corruption in a certain country it is better for everybody to understand about common global challenge – corruption.

I think corruption becomes burden to everybody. Because citizens and companies those give corruption add the value of corruption on their services and get the amount back from people. Thus the biggest victims of corruption are ordinary citizens. Without fighting against corruption we do not do our best for our citizens those elected us. Silently passing by corruption state leaders and government authorities means that they support corruption – bad activity that causes losses to people.

Mongolians say that “It is better to have a broken bone rather than breaking someone’s own reputation” and the people respect justice. Particularly the reputation of civil servants is crucial. From Genghis Khan’s time it was preached that civil servants should be just and exemplary and treat people with love. This is a valuable foundation for this understanding of the Mongolian science of public administration. We understand such that way. Genghis Khan himself was born on a place that had traditional state policy and relations dating back hundreds and thousands of years.

Mongolians have governed the state by rule of law. Historically the people have had the tradition of giving the heaviest punishment for corruption in state matters. Ikh Zasag (Great Principles) law adopted during Genghis Khan’s time in Mongolia had points to punish illegal matters related to corruption and bribery very heavily. From all these we can see that corruption does not fit Mongolia’s openness, the selection of our citizens those elected us and Mongolian success.

We talk about anti-corruption not only in Mongolia but also need to join international anti-corruption initiatives against corruption. Our talks here against corruption will become a united international movement. By uniting our activities here we will have certain responsibilities. In 2005 when I was working as the Prime Minister, our Government made it possible for our country to join the United Nations Convention against Corruption. After my inauguration as the President of Mongolia, I submitted a draft of Amendment to Criminal Law to amend the law in accordance with the convention and to solve corruption related cases according to the new law and the convention. Our Parliament received the draft and since then over a year has passed. I have been criticizing the Parliament a little bit. I ask why you work with turtle speed on issues against corruption. In reality we have to work on these issues with racing speed of horse.

Joining the Partnering Against Corruption Initiative of the World Economic Forum (PACI) gives us another warning to us - law makers and decision makers. The warning is that corruption is not a challenge that occurs in Mongolia only and a topic which is talked by the President and only officers those are responsible for fighting against corruption. I think it is vital to raise awareness that fighting against corruption is a topic that global community is discussing about.

On the other hand, corruption does not only exist in government, similar to infectious diseases corruption is contagious to businesses and institutions those have weak immunities. The biggest supporters of PACI can be businesses including private and probably state owned corporations. In turn, they can pressure government to fight against corruption. PACI is a process that businesses say that they are getting rid of corruption and ask government support for fighting against corruption. It is also a process that businesses ask government to get rid of unnecessary bureaucracy.

As an open country our key principle is that thanks to citizens the government exists. It is not the other way around. Government is the continuance of citizens. Government is not the continuance of privileges. Particularly government is not the continuance of corruption or undue bureaucracy. We tend our work with this understanding. On the other hand, it is a significant event that our private sector is joining this big movement that is independent from the Government. I heard that some businesses expressed their willingness to join this anti-corruption activity that is beginning to take place in Mongolia. This is a vital event. I would like to congratulate businesses and business leaders those are joining PACI.

Anti-corruption fight faces difficulties. Fighting against corruption requires political bravery. Political leaders should support anti-corruption fight. Presidents and Prime Ministers should be able to make those difficult decisions to fight against corruption. Fighting against corruption requires making difficult decisions. Mongolia used to have a communist regime for 70 years and the mentality of socialist system has strongly remained. In addition, our judicial institutions and law enforcement agencies have not generally come out of the regime as per their structures. Therefore it is three times more difficult to fight against corruption and realize justice in Mongolia.

I congratulate you who are joining Partnering Against Corruption Initiative. I congratulate the executives of the World Economic Forum those have brought the initiative to Mongolia. Mongolia is your partner. The President and Office of the President of Mongolia will be partners of you and will report our successes in coming years. I personally wish Mongolia to work and become a role model for countries those begin to enter to anti-corruption market and states those are new political democracies.

I wish success for your work and this session.”