The Mongolian National Audit Office (MNAO) reported that it had found violations of more than 14.8 billion MNT during its audit on the budget of the 11th Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM11) held in Ulaanbaatar in July 2016.

According to MNAO, 23.6 billion MNT was allocated from several state organizations for the 11th ASEM meeting, 20.8 billion MNT of which was spent. An audit on the financial report of the budget revealed several violations and discrepancies in the budget.

“Further auditing is required in regards to the budget of the 11th ASEM meeting. An additional audit will probe into how much money was spent where and will include all of the related agencies and organizations and their administrations,” stated MNAO.

The state budget, Ulaanbaatar budget, foreign aid and assistance, and the Development Bank of Mongolia all provided funding for the ASEM meeting.

“The National Audit Office will be visiting some of the agencies and conducting an audit on site. The final risk audit report will be published on March 20, 2018,” MNAO stated.

The preliminary findings by the audit office revealed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs expended 70.4 million MNT in unrelated foreign visits and 117.9 million MNT for the repair and maintenance of its building and surrounding area.

In addition, the preliminary findings included several violations by the Diplomatic Service Bureau including selling off furniture and assistance provided by China for the ASEM meeting to private companies and transferring 4,787 furniture to 33 government organizations.

MNAO also found that the Diplomatic Service Bureau did not receive most of the payments for the furniture that was sold off to private businesses and individuals, with 97.3 million MNT of the 103 million MNT owed having not been paid.

Around 6,955 pieces of translating equipment used for the ASEM meeting has reportedly been leased to private businesses for three years. The contracts state that at the end of the three years, the equipment will be transferred to the private businesses.

The preliminary findings of MNAO reveal serious cases of misuse of public funds and public assets. The lack of compensation that the Diplomatic Service Bureau received for the sale of the equipment and furniture has led many people to suspect misappropriation of funds for personal gain.

However, at this point, MNAO said it has not yet finalized its full audit report and more light will be shed on the issue in the future. If indeed there are violations and discrepancies of more than 14.8 billion MNT, MNAO will have more detailed information about the violations for the ASEM meeting budget when it releases its full report in March.

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