[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Mongolia ex-president jailed for corruption
Court sentences Nambar Enkhbayar to four years in jail for corruption, a charge he termed "groundless".
Last Modified: 03 Aug 2012 12:45
Enkhbayar, 54, served as prime minister and then president for almost a decade until losing office in 2009 [Reuters]

Former Mongolian President Nambar Enkhbayar has been sentenced to four years in jail for corruption, a charge he dubbed "groundless".

On Thursday, a Mongolian court found him guilty of misappropriating gifts intended for a monastery and illegally privatising a hotel along with other corruption charges, in a hearing broadcast to the nation.

The court originally sentenced him to seven years, but reduced it by three years, citing an amnesty law.

Enkhbayar, 54, served as prime minister and then president for almost a decade until losing office in 2009. He was arrested in April in a dawn raid broadcast live on national television.

Enkhbayar, who was barred from running in Mongolia's June parliamentary elections, called the charges "groundless".

"I served the posts of president, prime minister and speaker of parliament. I never thought I would be accused groundlessly," Enkhbayar said in his testimony.

His lawyer said they would appeal the verdict.

Enkhbayar formed a breakaway Mongolian People's Revolutionary Party last year, splitting from the ruling Mongolian People's Party (MPP), the oldest in the country which held power during the Soviet era.

Vote-rigging

For much of the past decade the MPP shared power with the Democratic Party, but the latter left the coalition in January to prepare for June elections.

Enkhbayar's MPRP joined forces with another party to form the Justice Coalition, which in June won 11 of 76 parliamentary seats, considered a relative success for the new coalition.

They have agreed to co-operate closely with the DP, which won the largest share in parliament with 31 seats, while the MPP won 25.

The election results are still being contested, however, with charges of vote-buying and other disputes.

Accusations of vote-rigging in 2008 parliamentary elections sparked riots that left four people dead.

The MPP and DP have pledged to improve the distribution of wealth across the vast nation, which covers an area three times the size of France but has a population of just 2.8 million people.

Mongolia is ranked 120 out of 182 countries on the Corruption Perceptions Index compiled by the watchdog group Transparency International, tying with Bangladesh, Iran and Kazakhstan.

Mongolia is one of Asia's poorest nations but has increasingly lured foreign investors with its rich deposits of copper, gold, uranium, silver and oil.

374

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Swathes of the British electorate continue to show discontent with all things European, including immigration.
Astronomers have captured images of primordial galaxies that helped light up the cosmos after the Big Bang.
Critics assail British photographer's portrayal of indigenous people, but he says he's highlighting their plight.
As Western stars re-release 1980s charity hit, many Africans say it's a demeaning relic that can do more harm than good.
Featured
No one convicted after 58 people gunned down in cold blood in 2009 in the country's worst political mass killing.
While hosting the World Internet Conference, China tries Tiananmen activist for leaking 'state secrets' to US website.
Once staunchly anti-immigrant, some observers say the conservative US state could lead the way in documenting migrants.
NGOs say women without formal documentation are being imprisoned after giving birth in Malaysia.
Public stripping and assault of woman and rival protests thereafter highlight Kenya's gender-relations divide.