Dozens arrested in Saudi corruption crack-down

7 Nov 17

Saudi Arabia’s crown prince is leading a crack-down on corruption, which has led to the arrest of dozens of royal figures, ministers and businessmen. 

The country’s newly formed anti-corruption committee ordered the detention of 11 princes, four ministers and dozens of ex-ministers and businessmen, according to Saudi media. 

Attorney general Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb said the arrests were “merely the start of a vital process to root out corruption wherever it exists”.

The order also detailed the detention of the minister of the national guard prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz and minister of economy and planning Adel bin Mohammed Faqih.

One of Saudi’s most prominent tycoons, businessman prince Alwaleed bin Talal, was also arrested. 

The committee will investigate public corruption and aims to improve the investment climate in the kingdom and enhance confidence in the legal system.

It is the latest move of the country to improve economic performance and oversight of its public finances.

It has the task of identifying “offences, crimes, persons and entities involved in cases of public corruption”, according to the royal decree.

Saudi Arabia’s finance ministry said on Sunday that the committee will open “a new era of transparency and accountability”.

According to the official Saudi Press Agency (Spa), the powers of the anti-corruption committee include “the investigation, issuance of arrest warrants, travel ban, disclosure and freezing of accounts and portfolios, tracking of funds, assets and preventing their remittance or transfer by persons and entities, whatever they might be”.

It will also include the power to seize assets of individuals or entities that have been found to have taken or abused public funds.

Saudi Arabia announced last month its $500bn plan for a new business and industrial city, stretching across its borders into Jordan and Egypt.

The authorities have made progress in implementing reforms to adjust the formerly oil-dependent state’s fiscal policy under its Vision 2030 project, which are “beginning to bear fruit”, according to the IMF.

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