Saudi authorities arrest 22, seize SR600 million in KSA’s ‘largest case of corruption’

17/10/20

The headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) in Riyadh.
  • Nazaha sends a clear message to anyone considering ‘embarking on such endeavors’

JEDDAH: Authorities in Saudi Arabia have arrested 22 people after seizing more than SR600 million ($160 million) in what has been described as “the largest case of corruption in the Kingdom.”

Crime investigators from the Saudi Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) apprehended 13 government employees from the municipality of Riyadh region, four businessmen, and five expats working for contracting companies over serious fraud allegations.
During searches of residences of the accused, officials found more than SR193 million in cash stashed away in make-shift ceilings, a service room in a mosque, a water tank, and an underground safe.
Also uncovered was an inventory of real estate purchases made by the arrested people using illegal funds, totaling almost SR142 million.
In addition, Nazaha seized almost SR150 million from the arrestees’ bank accounts, and following further investigation one of the accused was found to have used his position to disburse more than SR110 million through the Ministry of Finance’s Etimad unified digital services platform for commercial entities.
Other corrupt dealings were linked to SR2.5 million worth of grocery prepaid cards, nearly SR150,000 of fuel prepaid cards, and more than SR4.1 million in foreign currencies.
The 22 arrests were among 889 cases of corruption and discipline matters recently handled by Nazaha.

HIGHLIGHTS

• During searches of residences of the accused, officials found more than SR193 million in cash stashed away in make-shift ceilings, a service room in a mosque, a water tank, and an underground safe.

• Also uncovered was an inventory of real estate purchases made by the arrested people using illegal funds, totaling almost SR142 million.

Legal consultant, Dimah Al-Sharif, told Arab News that the case stood out due to the involvement of public officers who had abused their positions of power for financial gain. “This type of case negatively affects the development of the state and its economy,” she said.
Ahmed Al-Hussein, Nazaha’s spokesman in Riyadh, told Al-Ekhbariya TV channel that in addition to judicial findings, the questioned parties had confessed to their crimes. “In previous cases, we’ve had many in question who were already retired, but they were still tried and did not escape justice,” he said.
Abdulmajeed Al-Mousa, a legal consultant in Riyadh, also spoke to the station about the case, and said: “For some time now, we’ve seen Nazaha announce arrests like these, which can only establish that the authorities have been relentless in stopping cases of corruption.
“The work done by Nazaha sends a clear message to anyone considering embarking on such endeavors. At the same time, these efforts protect state funds.”
Al-Mousa pointed out that Nazaha operates a toll-free number for people to report any suspected incidents of corruption and it could also be contacted via social media. Callers can provide information with complete anonymity and even recipients of bribes had been shown leniency by the authorities when coming forward to expose financial crime.
Riyadh lawyer, Faisal Al-Tayie, told Al-Ekhbariya: “It gives me pride to see such actions taken toward corruption, and the level of transparency carried out in the statement released by Nazaha is unprecedented and detailed, and it inspires a lot of trust.”
He said the authorities had shown that it did not matter how high-profile a person was, no one was above the law.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

King Salman’s sacking of top Saudi officials proves ‘no one is above law’

Time: 02 September 2020

The monarch on Monday issued a royal decree ordering the dismissal of Saudi Commander of the Joint Forces in Yemen Lt. Gen. Fahad bin Turki bin Abdul Aziz. (SPA)
  • Saudi lawyers laud monarch’s royal decree, tough stance against corruption in Kingdom

JEDDAH: Saudi lawyers on Tuesday lauded King Salman’s sacking of two high-ranking officials as part of an anti-corruption drive that proved “no one was above the law.”

The monarch on Monday issued a royal decree ordering the dismissal of Saudi Commander of the Joint Forces in Yemen Lt. Gen. Fahad bin Turki bin Abdul Aziz and Jouf Deputy Gov. Prince Abdul Aziz bin Fahad bin Turki bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud and the launch of a corruption probe.

He also placed under investigation a number of officers, civil officials, and others based on a referral from Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) to look into what the decree described as “suspicious financial dealings monitored at the Ministry of Defense.”

According to the king’s decree, Nazaha “disclosed financial corruption” at the ministry linked to the military chief and the prince.

Saudi lawyer Abdullah Al-Khatib told Arab News that Nazaha would complete legal procedures against the accused.

“One of the authority’s main objectives is to provide direct communication channels with the public to receive their reports related to corrupt behaviors, verify their validity and take the necessary actions in this regard, following the approach of our wise leadership to achieve justice in society and eliminate corruption in all its forms,” he said.

Legal consultant, Majed Garoub, said: “This action is a clearer confirmation to a recent decision where governors of the Red Sea coastal cities of Umluj and Al-Wajh, the head of border security, and other local commanders, as well as officials from the Ministry of Interior have been sacked over corruption at tourism projects; most of them were referred to by their names and job titles.

“Everyone should know that only attempting to be involved in a corrupt action is a crime by itself and is punishable by law. This is to confirm that whoever plans, plots, conceals, and initiates the crime, his punishment is no less than those who commit the full crime of financial corruption, including bribery, mediation, and abuse of influence,” he added.

Garoub pointed out that the king’s decree had targeted high-ranking officials and members of the Saudi royal family, sending out a clear message that no one in the Kingdom was above the law.

“The interest of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its wealth is for the public interest, the country and the citizens, and not for the corrupt to benefit from them unlawfully.

“This is to uproot corruption from Saudi thought, culture, and conscience, and to remind everyone who thinks that they can safely continue in their corruption that social status and governmental position can no longer prevail over the law,” he said.

Another lawyer, Njood Al-Qassim, noted that corruption covered crimes including bribery and trading in influence, abuse of power, illicit enrichment, manipulation, embezzlement, squandering or abuse of public money, money laundering, accounting and commercial fraud, forgery, and currency counterfeiting.

“Therefore, the national integrity and anti-corruption strategy has focused on verifying and investigating all those found guilty and those related to these violations, completing the statutory procedures, taking the necessary measures in this regard, and raising results to the higher responsible authorities.

“No one is above the law according to the policy and vision of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” she said.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi governors, commanders fired over corruption at tourism projects

22/08/20

King Salman has issued a royal decree sacking a number of officials for legal violations in the Red Sea Project. (File/AFP)
  • Army officers among 298 people arrested over allegations of bribery, embezzlement and waste of public funds
  • The Saudi National Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) conducted dozens of “criminal investigation procedures” in March in relation to breaches of public duty

JEDDAH: Senior Saudi security commanders are among a number of officials who have been sacked over corruption at tourism projects, the Saudi Press Agency (SPA) reported on Friday.

Those dismissed by royal decree include the governors of the Red Sea coastal cities of Umluj and Al-Wajh, the head of border security and other local commanders, as well as officials from the Interior Ministry.

They are under investigation for facilitating encroachment on government lands that are part of tourism projects under development along the Red Sea coast in the historic city of AlUla and the mountain resort of Abha. The violations had a “great impact on the completion of the projects” and caused “environmental damage,” according to SPA.

Saudi Arabia, which introduced tourist visas for the first time last year, has unveiled a series of multibillion-dollar tourism projects in an effort to diversify the Kingdom’s oil-dependent economy.

This dismissals are part of the government’s latest crackdown on corruption. Saudi lawyer Dimah Talal Al-Sharif said that the laws on corruption are very clear, though cases can be complicated.

“Corruption cases are considered one of the most complex types of cases due to the overlap of many people and specialties in them,” she said.

It is an important requirement of such cases that the authorities take all necessary steps to provide proper protection for witnesses, she added. This is in keeping with the provisions of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, “which calls for the enactment of the necessary legislation to protect witnesses in corruption crimes in member states.” However, Al-Sharif said that it can be difficult to ensure their identities are not revealed, particularly in cases where a witness is one of few people with knowledge of the corruption.

BACKGROUND

They are accused of facilitating encroachment on government lands that are part of tourism projects along the Red Sea coast near AlUla and Abha.

The Saudi National Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) conducted dozens of “criminal investigation procedures” in March in relation to breaches of public duty. The initial investigation targeted 219 employees but in the end statements were taken from 674 people, 298 of whom were arrested over accusations of financial and administrative corruption, including bribery, embezzlement and waste of public funds. The total amount involved was SR379 million ($101 million), and the cases will be referred to the courts.

The suspects accused of bribery and money laundering include eight army officers, one of whom is a major general, and retired officers who allegedly misused their government contracts at the Ministry of Defense to commit financial crimes.

During a crackdown against corruption launched in 2017, hundreds of princes, ministers and businessmen were detained at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in the capital, Riyadh. Many were held there for weeks, although most were released after agreeing significant financial settlements. Authorities said they recovered more than SR400 billion.

Meanwhile, attorney general Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mua’jab has issued an order specifying a list of major crimes that require arrest, according to Article 112 of the Law on Criminal Procedure. The 25 classifications include: border crimes punishable by death or amputation; intentional or semi-intentional homicide; crimes against national security; offenses punishable by imprisonment for more than three years; crimes defined under law as major crimes requiring arrest; and other commercial crimes.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi anti-corruption authority probes 218 cases

Time: 11 August, 2020

JEDDAH: Saudi Arabia’s Control and Anti- Corruption Authority (Nazaha) has initiated 218 criminal cases in different sectors.

According to a report posted on its official Twitter account, the cases are related to fraud, bribery, and financial and professional corruption.

One of the cases involves the arrest of a businessman in the Eastern Province and 10 citizens, including a current member of the Shoura Council, a former judge,

a current notary, a former bank employee, a former district police chief, a former customs director for an airport, and several retired officers (who were not arrested due to their health conditions).

The businessman bribed them during their period of services
to the tune of more than SR20 million.

Other cases involve the arrest of a director of a port and several employees, a commander of one of the security sectors with the rank of a major general, four
of his subordinates, and the financial representative of the Ministry of Finance. A former governor has also been held
on graft charges. The anti-graft body seeks to activate measures aimed at preventing, combating, and exposing corruption in all its forms, as well as all related crimes and prosecuting perpetrators.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi anti-graft agency probes 105 corruption cases in different sectors

09/07/20

A Nazaha official said the Kingdom will continue to pursue cases of misappropriation of public money
The cases involved fraud, bribery, and financial and professional corruption
RIYADH: The Saudi Control and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) has initiated 105 corruption cases in the health, interior, power, and education sectors.
The cases involved fraud, bribery, and financial and professional corruption.
A Nazaha official said the Kingdom will continue to pursue cases of misappropriation of public money and harming state interests.
One of the cases involves the arrest of three employees working at the Saudi Electricity Co. for receiving a bribe amounting to €535,000 ($604,570) from a French company and opening bank accounts in another country (at the request of the company) for money laundering. Another case is the arrest of a university faculty member for asking for a bribe amounting to SR80,000 ($21,328) from a number of companies working on different projects at the university.
The authority also arrested a doctor at the Ministry of Health for violating the regulations at a quarantine facility.
A brigadier general was arrested for using his official vehicle to facilitate the passage of another private vehicle through security points during the curfew period.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia to participate in anti-corruption conference in Rabat

Time: 05 January, 2020

Saudi Arabia joined the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention in 2012. (SPA)
  • The conference will discuss a number of important topics, including the implementation of the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention

RIYADH: The Kingdom is taking part in an anti-corruption conference in Morocco, the Saudi Press Agency reported.
The president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, Mazen bin Ibrahim Al-Khamous, will head Saudi Arabia’s delegation at the two-day Conference of the States Parties to the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention in Rabat from Jan. 7.
The conference will discuss a number of important topics, including the implementation of the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention, follow-ups to the previous meeting, reports and recommendations.
A set of resolutions proposed by member states will be presented to the conference for approval. The conference will elect the president of the third session and, also on the agenda, is the Kingdom’s invitation to hold the next session in Riyadh in 2022.
The Kingdom joined the Arab Anti-Corruption Convention in 2012. It contains provisions concerning preventive measures to prevent corruption, to determine the criminal acts as stipulated therein and to recover assets.
It also seeks to activate measures aimed at preventing, combating, and exposing corruption in all its forms, as well as all related crimes, prosecuting perpetrators and enhancing Arab cooperation.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

King Salman issues royal decree to fight corruption

Time: December 13, 2019

King Salman has approved organizing preparations for combating financial and administrative corruption. (SPA)
  • The royal decree approved organizing preparations for combating financial and administrative corruption

JEDDAH: Three royal orders were issued on Thursday to fight financial and administrative corruption.

The organizational and structural arrangements related to combating financial and administrative corruption include the following:

Approving the organizational and structural arrangements related to combating financial and administrative corruption, in the correct form.

The organizational and structural arrangements related to fighting financial and administrative corruption include the following:

• Incorporating the Control and Investigation Authority and the Mabahith to the National Anti-Corruption Authority and altering its name to Control and Anti-Corruption Authority.

• The president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission shall assume the power given to the head of the Supervision and Investigation Commission, as well as exercising the powers of the head of the Mabahith. He may also delegate whomever he deems to exercise some of these powers, until all the necessary legal procedures are completed and acted upon.

• A criminal investigation and prosecution unit shall be established in the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority which will be responsible for criminal investigations and the prosecution of criminal cases related to financial and administrative corruption.

• The head of the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority shall coordinate with the attorney general for the Public Prosecution to continue investigating cases of financial and administrative corruption in some regions of the Kingdom that do not have branches of the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority, provided that a specific mechanism is established between the Public Prosecution and the Authority to ensure that these cases are identified and followed up by the Authority, in addition to monitoring their outcome.

• Spatial jurisdiction shall be held in all cases related to financial and administrative corruption at the special court for Riyadh.

• The Control and Anti-Corruption Authority shall take the necessary measures regarding the crimes of financial and administrative corruption, its perpetrators and its parties, whether they are regular people or civil or military employees, or those in their position or others, or people with a moral character related to these crimes.

• The judgment issued by the competent court to convict any employee or those in his position of a criminal offense related to financial and administrative corruption results in their dismissal from their post.

• If the investigation with the public employee or those in his position results in strong suspicions affecting the dignity or the integrity of the job, the Authority’s president may, after discussing the matter with the head of the agency to which the employee is affiliated, suggest his dismissal by royal order, without affecting the completion of criminal proceedings against him.

• If an irrelevant increase occurs in the wealth of the public employee and those in his position after assuming the job that does not commensurate with his income or resources based on evidence from financial investigations proving that he had committed financial or administrative corruption crimes, then he shall prove that his wealth has been acquired legitimately. If he is unable to prove so, the results of the financial investigations shall be referred to the Authority’s Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Unit, to investigate the employee in question and take the necessary measures.

The royal decree also included that the necessary procedures be completed in accordance with the provisions.

An order was issued for Dr. Abdul Rahman bin Ibrahim Al-Hussein, head of the Control and Investigation Authority to resign from his position, and to be appointed a member of the Shoura Council.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru

Saudi Arabia’s Nazaha, UNDP sign MoU to fight corruption

11/09/19

Nazaha President Mazen bin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous received in his office in Riyadh the UNDP’s resident representative in the Kingdom. (SPA)

The aim of the MoU is to establish a strategic partnership against corruption, and to support relevant initiatives, programs, projects and activities
RIYADH: The National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) okf Saudi Arabia and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) on Tuesday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) to cooperate against corruption.
Nazaha President Mazen bin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous received in his office in Riyadh the UNDP’s resident representative in the Kingdom, Adam Bouloukos, and his delegation.
They reviewed both sides’ efforts, and explored ways to enhance cooperation against corruption.
The aim of the MoU is to establish a strategic partnership against corruption, and to support relevant initiatives, programs, projects and activities.
The meeting and the signing of the MoU were attended by Nazaha’s vice president for combatting corruption, Abdulmohsen bin Mohammed Al-Mehaisen, and its vice president for protecting integrity, Bandar bin Ahmed Aba Al-Khail.
Nazaha aims to create a work environment of integrity, transparency, honesty, justice and equality in the bodies that fall within its jurisdiction or specialization.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia’s Nazaha chief urges cooperation among Gulf anti-corruption agencies

10/09/19

The headquarters of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) in Riyadh. (Courtesy of Nazaha website)

RIYADH: The president of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) stressed the importance of continuing and enhancing cooperation and exchanging expertise among anti-corruption agencies in the Gulf to achieve regional security, stability, development and prosperity.

Mazen bin Ibrahim Al-Kahmous was speaking at a meeting of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) anti-corruption agencies, which was held in Oman.

He thanked the sultanate and the council’s general secretariat for organizing the meeting, and expressed hope that the aspirations of the leaders of GCC countries will be achieved.

Nazaha aims to create a work environment of integrity, transparency, honesty, justice and equality in the bodies that fall within its jurisdiction or specialization.

According to official statistics, Nazaha received 15,591 reports in 2018 compared with 10,402 the previous year. Financial and administrative corruption cases made up the bulk of the reports.

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

Saudi Arabia ‘deploys all efforts’ to fight corruption, attorney general says

Time: March 01, 2019

Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mua’jab

RIYADH: Attorney General Sheikh Saud bin Abdullah Al-Mua’jab has said that the Kingdom has deployed all efforts to fight corruption, in accordance with the provisions and regulations of Islamic law (Shariah).

During his regular meeting with service chiefs of corruption cases, Al-Mua’jab noted these departments’ achievements, which had an influence on preserving integrity, promoting confidence and transparency in all procedures undertaken.

“The attorney general’s office has gained the trust of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman who have constantly supported the office and the procedures it has taken to combat and eliminate corruption,” he said. “The office issued royal decree No. 24242 on Feb. 6, 2018, which approves establishing departments specialized in corruption cases at the attorney general’s office and undertaking the investigation and prosecution of those cases, and these departments are directly linked to the attorney general. This shows the responsibility the attorney general’s office has been entrusted with.”

“This great task of fighting and eradicating corruption is the essence of the work that you were entrusted with and the mission we have been assigned to achieve with dedication and competence,” he said.

He said that everyone knew of the efforts of the attorney general’s office in fighting corruption, which have been acclaimed by the international community.

Al-Mua’jab also requested dedication and diligence to complete investigation procedures with competence and efficiency to meet the expectations of the leadership in eradicating this menace, in accordance with high-accuracy plans and strategies and in conformity with Saudi Vision 2030.

  

This article was first published in Arab News

If you want more interesting news or videos of this website click on this link  Arab News Home

ru