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  • Saudi authority gives details of corruption cases in progress and rulings issued in others

Saudi authority gives details of corruption cases in progress and rulings issued in others

A picture taken on Sept. 22, 2020 shows a Saudi national flag in Riyadh. (AFP)
A picture taken on Sept. 22, 2020 shows a Saudi national flag in Riyadh. (AFP)
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20 Jan 2022 02:01:18 GMT9
20 Jan 2022 02:01:18 GMT9
  • Cases involve crooked land deals, bribery, fake documents, false COVID-19 vaccination certificates and other abuses of power and public office

Arab News

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority, known as Nazaha, on Wednesday gave details of a number of criminal cases it is pursuing in which legal proceedings against the accused are underway.

In one of the cases, a notary was arrested for allegedly receiving SR4,461,500 ($1,189,331) in exchange for illegally transferring ownership of two sections of land as a “gift” to a businessman and the businessman’s sister without the knowledge of their father, who owns the land. The notary’s brother was also arrested.

In another, a retired brigadier general who served in the Border Guards is accused of receiving SR10 million to accept requests for compensation from 15 citizens, who have also been arrested, for large areas of land that were owned illegally.

An engineer working in a senior position in a municipality was arrested over claims that he received SR350,000 from a businessman in exchange for issuing fake approval certificates for his commercial enterprise. The certificates are said to have been worth SR435,000 and the related completion certificates for the disbursement of the financial dues had been signed.

A citizen allegedly received SR12,500 of an agreed SR32,000 payment in return for canceling 16 violations by a company that had been registered at the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development.

Nine employees of the Ministry of Health and six foreign mediators of the deals were arrested over allegations that they accepted money in return for modifying the immunization status of a number of citizens to indicate that they had received a COVID-19 vaccine when they had not.

With the cooperation of the Ministry of Interior, an officer and a resident were arrested for forming a criminal gang through which they identified workers in violation of residency laws, arrested them and then demanded money to release them.

A number of cases referred by Nazaha’s Criminal Investigation and Prosecution Unit to the Criminal Court in Riyadh resulted in convictions and the issuance of preliminary court rulings against the suspects.

In one case, a notary was convicted of bribery for receiving SR15.5 million in exchange for illegally issuing a deed of land ownership. He was sentenced to seven years in prison and fined SR700,000. The person who paid the bribe was jailed for five years and fined SR500,000. A citizen convicted of delivering the bribe was given a five-year sentence and fined SR500,000.

The secretary-general of a national committee affiliated with the Ministry of Interior was convicted of embezzlement, forgery, use of forged documents and money laundering. He was sentenced to nine years in prison and fined SR1,020,000. A businessman convicted in connection with the case was jailed for seven years, fined SR500,000, ordered to pay back SR3 million that had been embezzled, and banned from traveling for three years after release from prison.

A former ambassador was convicted of bribery and abuse of office for illegally issuing Hajj and Umrah visas in exchange for payments. He was sentenced to six years in prison and fined SR300,000.

A member of the Public Prosecution was convicted of bribery and abuse of office for requesting SR30,000 from a citizen in exchange for dismissing a pending case. He was jailed for three years and fined SR30,000.

The authority said it will continue to pursue anyone suspected of exploiting public office for personal gain or harming the public interest in any way, and that guilty individuals will be held accountable whenever they are identified, even after retirement, as there is no statute of limitations on such cases and a zero-tolerance policy applies in matters involving corruption.

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