Jeddah: Badr Alqahtani
Published — Tuesday 22 May 2012
Last update 8 July 2012 12:38 am
In the first ever judicial verdict against those accused of corruption during the devastating Jeddah floods of November 2009, the Court of Grievances in Jeddah has awarded jail terms and fines to two defendants — one municipal official and a businessman.
Speaking to Arab News, a high-level source at the court said each one of them was sentenced to five years in prison, in addition to fines amounting to SR 500,000. The source who requested anonymity disclosed that the bribery charges against the convicts were not directly related with the flood catastrophe.
They were found guilty of involvement in malpractices that were unearthed during the investigations carried out by authorities following the disaster. More than 180 suspects are on trial for alleged involvement in various offenses such as accepting bribes, misuse of power, illegal trading and foul play in the implementation of projects.
The source said a copy of the preliminary verdict shall be delivered to the public prosecution and the convicts in the next 15 days. “After this, they have the right to go for appeal within 30 days. The administrative appeals court in Jeddah is the higher judicial authority to examine the appeal,” he said.
The first verdict in the case has come amid rumors being circulated on the social networking sites about issuance of verdicts in Jeddah flood cases, especially those of which trial proceedings have been completed two days ago. The judge said the next verdicts would be pronounced on May 28.
A total of 332 suspects have been charged with various crimes linked to the flood disaster that turned into a catastrophe in Jeddah on Nov. 25, 2009. The suspects include six senior officials of the Jeddah municipality including an assistant mayor, as well as several officials in the government and private sectors in addition to consultants, engineers, technicians, contractors and businessmen.
Jeddah’s summary court is looking into a number of criminal cases against the suspects while the administrative court is examining several cases related to administrative and financial violations. A number of suspects have confessed to committing various administrative and financial violations.