Do the ministers who sold Zaisan carry criminal liability?
A lot of apartments have been built over the last 10 years in the protected zone of Bogd Khan Mountain. The mountain was protected many centuries ago, and now the wealthy live there, surrounding the Zaisan Tolgoi.
General plans to develop Ulaanbaatar City through 2020, were approved in 1990. In those plans, it was decided that the land around Zaisan must be developed as a tourism and recreation zone, but now Zaisan is full of apartments. The Law on Specially Protected Areas has been confirmed by the State Great Khural and its implementation has become common law. However, enforcement has become powerless. That is why so many apartment towns, built with foreign and domestic investment, have been built in the Zaisan gap and on the Tuul River bank.
Wealthy people have built up a small city. It has everything: schools, kindergartens, a sports club and a night club working illegally past regulated hours of operation. Who created this scenario by breaking the law and utilizing granted land? A source from the General Prosecutor’s Office reported that legislative organizations have started taking action and are researching how to clear up the land problem.
The Ministers of Environment are blamed for authorizing the release of Zaisan gap and the National Park at Bogd Khan Mountain, and are considered to be the primary suspects behind the problem. Former General Secretary of the Motherland Party, I.Erdenebaatar, General Secretary of the Mongolian People’s Revolution Party, G.Shiilegdamba, former Secretary of the Mongolian People’s Revolution Party, U.Barsbold, and member of National Consultative Committee of the Democratic Party, L.Gansukh, are all considered suspect. During the inspection, in addition to the ministers, a number of members of the Mongolian People’s Party who were working at the City Governer’s Office and Ministry of Environment at that time, are also thought to be involved in the land problem. This includes former Chief of Administration of Specially Protected Areas of the Ministry of Environment, A.Namkhai, and former General Architect of Ulaanbaatar City, N.Natsagdorj, who are now being investigated.
A list of land licenses that well-known ministers and legislative organizations gave to companies has been found and is being reviewed.
While Minister I.Erdenebaatar was in office, he granted land reclamation licenses in Zaisan to around 10 companies, including MCS. Former Minister G.Shiilegdamba, granted one to 30 hectares of land to individuals and companies in Zaisan and Bogini Am.
During the inspection of the ministers, Vice Chief of the Independent Authority Against Corruption, B.Khurts, is expected to be investigated. Investigators will look at how he took Sarnaikh Town land and trenched heat and sewage lines there.
But this investigation of politicians has limited reach. As a source from the General Prosecutor’s Office reported, people working as minister and vice chiefs of the Independent Authority Against Corruption will also be called as witnesses.
Considered primary suspects, the head of a board at the Ministry of Environment, and people who were working as general architects, will be checked continuously. This case would soon be public knowledge, but politicians are affected, and some believe that this is why the case is about to stall out.
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