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OF MONGOLIA (Zuuny Medee (ZM) daily paper), 17 July 2008

ZM: Good afternoon, would you kindly introduce yourself.

Sukhee: My name is Sukhburen, I happen to work as Acting Executive Director of Transparency International – Mongolia, a Chapter of a CSO, which call himself the “Global civil society organization leading the fight against corruption”. Came to your office in order to inform the public on the training which we have recently completed.

ZM: Before we start with the training would you kindly provide a very brief definition of corruption.

Sukhee: In general, corruption is “misuse of entrusted power for personal gain”. Under the “personal gain” we understand providing advantage to oneself, or any other person or entity, directly or indirectly. They say that corruption has thousands of forms, but among the most common forms we include giving\demanding of bribes, extortion of an official\person in order to make him more co-operative, favoritism, etc. Everyone knows that it is called “corruption” in English, this word means the process of getting rotten, spoiled. People who use computers know that when they get a sign saying” this file is corrupt”, it means it can’t be used again, nor opened. In this regards, the Mongolian version of the word corruption does not really reflect the broader sense of this word, it’s the opposite, it only refers it to giving\demanding bribes.

ZM: Thank you, now on training itself?

Sukhee: We have started the training upon signing an MOU with the General Council of the Courts and the Capital City Administrative Court, on co-organizing an anti-corruption training for all judges, called “Prevention of Corruption in Public Procuremet and Judicial Systems”. Under the term “Public Procurement” we understand all procurements (made through direct or open tenders) and other procurements made with state proceeds, incl budgets of local governments. The first half of the training consisted of providing general information on Transparency International, local Chapter-in-formation’s objectives, on the draft of the Law on Conflict of Interest, and on the means of preventing corruption in Public services and why it is important to curb corruption in PP.

ZM: You said the training was conducted in co-operation with the GCC and the Capital City Administrative Court (CCAC). What role did they play?

Sukhee: GCC coordinated all trainings (22) and assured that all judges and court personnel attended the training. While three judges from the CCAC, namely Ms A. Otgontsetseg, Kh. Batsuren and Ts. Tsogt have lead the 2nd half of the training, using translated version of the GCR 2007 presentation and referring to specific data contained in GCR 2007. In this regards, I am happy to inform you that almost one third of the 1st part of GCR 2007 (Comparative analysis) has been translated by judge Ts. Tsogt. We wish to thank also lawyers J. Elbegsaikhan and Ms Unurmaa for their input in creating a Mongolian version of GCR 2007.

ZM: What organization funded this training?

Sukhee: The project comprised two separate parts, firstly translation of 1st part of GCR 2007 and publication in Mongolian, these works were kindly financed by the British embassy, the costs related to training itself has been provided by the Partnership for Transparency Fund. This fund has been established by Mr Peter Eugen, who has in 1993 founded Transparency International. PTF get lion share of it’s resources from UN, staff of PTF work on voluntary basis. PTF requested that the training also covered NGO’s and CSO’s who hold the court accountable from outside and the Special Investigative Unit, workers of which investigate wrongdoings by judges and court staff. In addition to above, PTF requested that public is made aware of the training and it’s outcome, and Judges’ Code of Ethics is published in daily papers, such that public could hold judges accountable.

ZM: Have you been able to cover all judges? Have they all arrived Ulaanbaatar to attaned this training?

Sukhee: Training teachers of the first half of the training J. Elbegsaikhan, Mr Batbaatar, Lecturer of the State University and myself, together with the 3 judges of the CCAC formed 3 groups and visited all courts of 21 provinces and the Capital city. We started training on 28 April at Dalanzadgad city of South Gobi province and held the last training on 02 July at Hovd city of Hovd province.

ZM: A traditional question, what was the objective of the training? How did the judges react?

Sukhee: Everybody understand that it is completely unacceptable for our beloved Chinggis’s Mongolia to be ranked by TI’s CPI among the African, Latin American and post-communist countries and be on the edge of categories such as “countries where corruption is rampant” and “failed states”. Nobody would be happy to consider their country to be one with rampant corruption. There is a tendency to criticize CPI for not being able to take account of foreign bribery, and/or difference between the level of development of the countries, etc. In any event, CPI is not only recognized by all 180 governments of the countries which it has covered in 2007, CPI results are taken into account by the governments of the countries covered by the CPI, when preparing Strategies and Action plans.

During the discussions and the manner the attendees reacted, it has been obvious that almost all participants accepted the fact that corruption in Mongolia has became “rampant”, participants suggested that these kinds of anti-corruption trainings are organized for workers of the public organizations, and the general public, as well. The judges and court workers told us that corruption in judicial system is not as crititcal as others try to teach the public, the court decisions make one side happy and the other one always lose the case. By using media, the side which lost the case or the side which may lose the case make offences against the courts, in order to influence the judges’ decisions and this cause negative impact on public perception.

ZM: You have visited courts of all provinces, how many judges have you been able to cover?

Sukhee: We have conducted 25 trainings, at 21 province courts, Capital City Court, NGO’s, the Special Investigative Unit and the Auditors of the Mongolian National Audit Office. As the first half of the training was on the means of preventing corruption in public procurement and due to the fact that the finances and implementation of investments (public procurement) by public organizations is audited by the Audit office, we decided to train the Auditors, as well. We covered 608 people, 328 judges (almost 80% of all judges), 21 representatives from NGO’s, 23 investigators and workers of the Special Investigative Unit, 30 Auditors and 206 court workers and judges’ assistants. Using this opportunity would like to thank Mr D. Baatarkhuu of GCC, Mr A. Chimidtsogzol of Ulaanbaatar City Court, and Mr D. Enkhbaatar of the CCAC, for their kind assistance in organizing these trainings.

ZM: What was the reason to chose the topics, such as public procurement and judicial corruption?

Public procurement is a process of implementing investments in the country through open and direct tenders, in this regards it is directly connected to the economical development of this country. While in establishing the “rule of law”, to which all politicianS refer to, judicial system play the crucial role. It is impossible to establish “rule of law” without having an independent judicial system. In one word, the rule of law mean the following: every one and all institutions are equally accountable to predetermined standards – and that those standards must apply to everyone equally. In addition to this, despite all efforts made by thousands of most efficient anti-corruption agencies, the fight against corruption will not be successful, once a judicial system is corrupt, as all cases go through courts and the final verdict is carried out by judges.

ZM: Under the word “corruption” the public understand something very frightening and is not confident that curbing it will bring positive results. In your opinion, can corruption free society be created?

Of course, there are many countries in the world, people of which think they live in a corruption free environment. There are many possible ways to curb corruption; among the most important factors which have positive impact on fight against corruption is political will to fight corruption and general publics’ intolerance of corrupt practices. Per TI - corruption “blossom in darkness”, therefore, the first step to eliminate corruption should be initiated by those who have been elected by the public and pledged to pursue public interests, to make all government organizations activities open and transparent. The word “transparency” in Mongolian means clear and transparent. In addition, one of the main responsibilities of the governments which pursue “rule of law” should be official legalization of rights of CSO’s and NGO’s to monitor public organizations’ activities and its expenditures.

ZM: Do you accept information on corrupt offences? Can public approach you?

Not exactly. We are a CSO, we do not undertake activities such as investigation, representation or defence, which lie under jurisdiction of other law enforcement organizations. Our main objectives are monitoring of public organizations and businesses, and putting pressure on the government to push for reforms. We are obliged to raise public awareness. In some special cases, we may co-operate with law enforcement agencies. Before we go, would like to express regret on attempts of corrupt governments to discredit the courts, anti-corruption agencies and CSO’s using state-controlled media and privately owned deeply dependent TV channels and news papers.

ZM: Thank you very much for an interesting interview and wish you success in your endevours.

Sukhee: We thank you as well. We wish you and the staff to work restlessly day and night to secure rights of the public and creating a humane, corruption-free environment in this country.

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