Ministry fights fraud with fines, incentives

Updated 24 December 2014
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Ministry fights fraud with fines, incentives

More than 15,000 reports regarding commercial fraud were filed this year, ranging from substandard clothing items to counterfeit electronic goods, as well as hazardous foods.
In a bid to curb commercial fraud, the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is now rewarding citizens who report these violations with 25 percent of the amount of the given fine, a ministerial source commented on Tuesday. The source added that the ministry applied various punishments during the past months including fines that reached up to SR1 million, and closure of the business for up to seven days, in addition to penalties that are issued by a commercial court.
The ministry gives priority to high risk goods, like mobile chargers, electric wiring and spare parts, with over 4,000 consumer products intercepted recently at the Al-Mazihimya market.
Deputy president of Jeddah’s chamber of commerce, Ziyad Al-Bassam, stressed the necessity to forge the cooperation between the chamber and other consumer protection societies. According to Al-Bassam, merchants have to improve their products to conform to international specifications, while the chamber’s role is to safeguard consumers through its various protection centers.
Dr. Habiballah Al-Turkistan, professor of international marketing in King Abdul Aziz University, pointed out consumers should know their rights, which is the responsibility of all civil society organizations, government agencies and research centers. However, consumers can also use a very powerful weapon, according to Al-Turkistan: Defamation. It can play a huge role in preventing counterfeit or low quality products from flooding the market, as business owners know that defamation can strike a heavy blow to their business.
In a related matter, and as part of the ministry’s strategy to protect shoppers and end users, the consumer protection society claimed that it dealt with more than 86,000 complaints and produced more than 80 educational films, last year.


Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 2 min 40 sec ago
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Meet Saudi Arabia’s artist to the kings

  • From the age of three, Hisham Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art

JEDDAH: When it comes to royal connections, Saudi painter Hisham Binjabi can truly claim to have made it an art form.

During a lifetime at the easel, the unassuming Jeddah-based artist’s stunning creations have become the choice of kings.

And it all began at the age of just 14, when Binjabi painted a portrait of King Faisal and ended up presenting it in person to the late king of Saudi Arabia.

Further commissions were to follow, which resulted in Binjabi producing works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too.

Today he owns two galleries in Jeddah from where he exhibits artwork and sculptures from around the world. 

Binjabi revealed his incredible story to Arab News while at work painting on canvas at a recent Jeddah book fair.

Hisham Binjabi made works of art not only for the Saudi royal family, but royalty in other countries too. (Photos/Supplied)

From the age of three, when he painted the walls of his family home in black, Binjabi has never lost his appetite for art. His talent was recognized at school where he was known as the “boy who paints,” and although he chose to major in science, a teacher spotted his artistic skills and taught him the basics of mixing colors.

Binjabi said: “After that I started to practice, and whenever I didn’t need to attend a class, I would escape to the painting room. As I became stronger with the use of colors, my teacher suggested I pick a subject to paint and I chose to do a portrait of King Faisal.”

After framing his picture, Binjabi was spotted carrying his creation down the street by the then-minister of education, who was so taken by it that he invited the teenager to present it to King Faisal himself. 

On the right track

The young artist continued to paint in his home and later studied English literature at King Abdul Aziz University, where again his talents were spotted. 

The dean of the university asked him to produce a painting to display in a tent, and this time the subject was to be camels.

During a visit to the campus, the then-King Khaled saw the painting and asked to meet the artist. “Before I knew it, I was standing in front of King Khaled,” said Binjabi. 

“The king asked me why I had painted camels, and I told him that camels were the friends of Bedouin people.”

The king invited Binjabi to go to Riyadh and attend the first ever Janadriyah Festival, and from then on his works became highly prized by royalty. The then-Prince Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz asked him to produce a painting of his guests, a French prince and Sheikh Zayed of the UAE, watching camels through binoculars. 

As a result, Binjabi was invited to stay at Sheikh Zayed’s palace in Abu Dhabi, where he spent four months painting a family portrait for the leader.

Former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak was to be another of Binjabi’s distinguished clients, and even while studying for a Master’s degree in Lebanon, he painted for the king of Lebanon.

He said: “It did get overwhelming. I never asked to be associated with royalty, it just happened. Something in my heart kept pushing me along and telling me I was on the right track.”

Today he still represents the Kingdom in many different countries. 

“My life is full of stories about art which I find inspirational,” Binjabi added.