Irregular appointments of imams under probe


Published — Thursday 28 February 2013

Last update 28 February 2013 2:21 pm

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The Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance has recently launched an investigation into corrupt practices suspected to have been committed in one of its branches in the Riyadh province. 
The ministry began the investigation following a directive from the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) to look into the irregularities observed by the commission in the Wadi Dawassir branch of the ministry. 
A local newspaper reported that Tawfiq Al-Sudairy, the undersecretary for Mosques, Call and Guidance at the ministry ordered the director of the ministry’s Riyadh branch to investigate the appointments in the Wadi Dawassir branch of the ministry. The Nazaha had specifically mentioned in its letter to the ministry that several appointments made by the director of the Wadi Dawassir branch were not legal. 
The investigations were initiated due to reports of nepotism practiced by the director who allegedly appointed his own relatives as imams and muezzins in mosques under his jurisdiction. The director was also charged with employing non-Saudis as imams and muezzins in the governorate and nearby town. By law, a branch director is not allowed to appoint non-Saudis to such positions.  
Furthermore, the director was also accused of spending the ministry’s funds without abiding to the stipulated regulations. 
The appointments were also made without following the regulations governing the number of posts an office is allowed to have.
Earlier, in a move to guarantee proper maintenance work in mosques, the ministry canceled contracts signed with contractors who were negligent in their work. 
Nazaha, which was established with a royal decree in March 2011, has the authority to monitor the activities of any ministry or governmental department in its capacity to ensure the implementation of the National Strategy to Maintain Integrity and Combat Corruption in the Kingdom. It also collects, classifies and analyzes information, data and statistics related to corruption and is responsible for establishing a national database to protect the integrity of government officials and to combat corruption. 

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