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The Asia Foundation releases Eighth Semi-Annual Corruption Benchmarking Survey

Ulaanbaatar, December 8, 2009 — Mongolian Households Paid an Increase of 1.4 Billion Tugrik ($1 million U.S.) More in Bribes for Services in the Last Six Months

Mongolian households paid 41.7 billion tugrik ($28.9 million US dollars) in bribes to doctors, teachers, lawyers, and customs officials during the past six months, an increase of 1.4 billion, according to a survey released today by The Asia Foundation’s office in Mongolia, in partnership with the Sant Maral Foundation – the nation’s foremost independent polling institution. Findings from The Asia Foundation’s eighth semi-annual Corruption Benchmarking Survey report that one in every five Mongolian households paid a bribe within a three-month period.  Since 2006, The Asia Foundation has conducted this survey twice a year to monitor the scope, incidence, and impact of corruption at the household level over time, in an effort to analyze trends, and strengthen institutional and public capacity to deter and reduce corruption in Mongolia.

The Corruption Benchmarking Survey – the only surveying tool in Mongolia that gauges corruption on the household level – was conducted between September 11 – 21, 2009, using multi-level random, face-to-face interviews.  A sample of 600 adult respondents were asked about bribe recipients, frequency, and amount as well as their confidence in government and public institutions in combating corruption. This survey tool provides a robust indicator that is both empirically verifiable and perception-based.

Other notable trends in analysis from the eighth semi-annual Corruption Benchmarking Survey:
•    The amount of tugrik being paid in bribes increased from 40.3 billion to 41.7 billion over the past survey period, thus increasing the burden on households’ budgets.
•    Corruption has decreased overall in the ranking of the top problems facing Mongolians. However, the incidence of corruption increased by 5.8 percent over the past survey period.
•    The land utilization office has been perceived as the most corrupt agency in all eight corruption benchmarking surveys. In the most recent survey, judges and police were perceived as the second and third most corrupt agencies.

Highlights from the poll findings on perceptions of public institutions as well as the incidence of household-level corruption are as follows:

•    Confidence in the Independent Authority Against Corruption (IAAC) remained strong with 48% of respondents believing that the IAAC should be the lead agency in fighting corruption. However, the latest survey results indicate a drop in confidence in the agency overall, with confidence levels decreasing from 45% to 36%.
•    Half of the respondents (50.4%) have confidence in President Elbegdorj to fulfill his campaign promises in combating corruption; with another nearly one third (32.5%) believing the President will not play a pivotal role in combating corruption.
•    From the last survey, there was a 5% increase to 20% in the number of households that paid bribes within the previous three months.
•    29% of households surveyed indicated that there household budget was seriously affected by bribe payments.
•    Teachers, doctors, clerk, policemen and customs officers are the most frequent bribe recipients.
•    Although the total amount of bribes paid by households increased in the last period, the average bribe amount paid by households decreased from 397,000 tugriks ($275) in March 2009 to 308,000 tugriks ($214) in September 2009.

Download a copy of the full survey.

For media inquiries, please contact Meloney C. Lindberg Country Representative in Mongolia, mlindberg@asiafound.mn, or  Amy Ovalle, Director, Communications, San Francisco, aovalle@asiafound.org.

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