Saudi anti-corruption body probes appointment of minister’s son

Updated 28 October 2016
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Saudi anti-corruption body probes appointment of minister’s son

JEDDAH: A citizen has sent a complaint to the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC or Nazaha), calling for investigation into an alleged case of corruption involving the appointment of the son of Civil Service Minister Khaled Al-Araj to the post of project manager for a monthly salary exceeding SR21,000.
The complaint came soon after the minister stated that the typical Saudi employee does not spend more than one hour a day to do real work, a statement most Saudis deemed offensive.
Saad Al-Thuwaini wrote a complaint letter to Nazaha President Khaled Al-Muhaisin, claiming abuse of power on the part of the minister.
Al-Thuwaini asked that the matter be investigated and that the minister’s son undergo an examination to establish his credentials.
He took issue with the salary earned by the minister’s son, which is rarely obtained by regular Saudis working in whatever specialties and holding whatever qualifications.
The minister insists that his son was not shown favoritism when hired.
The NACC took the complaint seriously, acting promptly.
The anti-corruption body’s spokesman, Abdulrahman Al-Ajlan, said the commission monitors media and Internet news and takes action to ensure the implementation of the national strategy to protect integrity and fight against corruption.
He said the commission is monitoring regularly the social network postings regarding the hiring of the minister’s son.
“I would like to remind all that Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman said that the Kingdom does not tolerate corruption of any sort and that no one is above the law,” said Al-Ajlan.
That matter was not discussed by the Nazaha alone, but also by Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH) President Prince Sultan bin Salman, who said it is not right to say that citizens do not work and that Saudi Arabia lacks expertise in various fields of work.
A video circulated on social media shows Prince Sultan saying that “the country’s development and achievements over the past years are fantastic and quite difficult to believe ... we cannot say that the citizens do not work and there is no development.”
Prince Sultan said: “Who built this country? Who united it before the discovery of oil, and before economic prosperity? Those who accomplished this were the citizens who trust God Almighty, who stand side by side, who always support their state, who believe in this state, in this place and its future.”


Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to India will boost robust interactions that New Delhi has established with Saudi Arabia over the last few years. (Supplied)
Updated 20 February 2019
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Saudi Crown prince’s India visit will help expand ties beyond energy

  • New Delhi’s participation in Kingdom’s mega projects a major aspect of renewed ties: Talmiz Ahmad

NEW DELHI: Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s first visit to India is a landmark development in bilateral ties between India and Saudi Arabia, according to Talmiz Ahmad, a former ambassador to Riyadh.

Saudi Arabia is India’s largest supplier of crude oil, but since taking office in 2014 Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sought to use India’s growing economy to attract more investment from Saudi Arabia beyond energy, and foster cooperation on trade, infrastructure and defense.

Ahmad, author of several books on the Arab world and twice India’s Ambassador to Riyadh, said that while the backbone of New Delhi’s relationship with the Kingdom is energy, the two sides had been discussing “how to give greater substance and longevity to the relationship on the basis of concrete projects.”

Reuters reported this week that India is expecting Prince Salman to announce an initial investment in its National Investment and Infrastructure Fund, a quasi-sovereign wealth fund, to help accelerate the building of ports and highways. Saudi Arabia has also suggested investing in India’s farming industry, with an eye on food imports to the Kingdom. 

Ahmad said Saudi Arabia’s NEOM project, a $500 billion smart city in Tabuk province on the Egyptian and Jordanian borders, would also provide great opportunities for Indian companies. 

He added that Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030, the crown prince’s blueprint to fundamentally transform Kingdom’s economy, presents another opportunity for Indian businesses to prosper from the relationship.

“India is extremely well placed,” said Ahmad. “We are world leaders in small and medium enterprises and in the services sector. Saudi Arabia also has proposals to develop its tourism and leisure sectors, and I believe India is also well placed in those areas too.”

He also discussed how the strategic partnership had been initiated by former Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who visited Riyadh in 2010, but that Modi, who visited in 2016, had added “considerable substance” to the relationship.

He stressed, though, that Riyadh’s ties with India are independent of its relationship with Pakistan. He added India and Saudi Arabia were also working together to improve the security situation in Afghanistan, to resolve the 17-year conflict between government forces and the Afghan Taliban, as well as in the wider West Asia region. 

“India has excellent relations with all the countries in West Asia, and New Delhi is well placed to address some of the concerns that all the countries have with each other,” he said.