Alwaleed’s unpaid utility bill electrifies Twitter

Alwaleed’s unpaid utility bill electrifies Twitter
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Alwaleed’s unpaid utility bill electrifies Twitter
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Updated 18 January 2017

Alwaleed’s unpaid utility bill electrifies Twitter

Alwaleed’s unpaid utility bill electrifies Twitter

JEDDAH: A controversy over a Saudi billionaire’s unpaid utility bill has seen Twitter light up — with the matter becoming a trending topic in the Kingdom.
A Saudi court published a ruling against Prince Alwaleed bin Talal in a local newspaper, which sparked much debate among his followers.
The controversy revolves around Prince Alwaleed’s apparent failure to pay a utility bill issued by the court, which the Riyadh governorate informed Alwaleed. Penalties for non-payment could include a utility shut down and a travel ban.
Prince Alwaleed considered the Saudi court’s action an unacceptable defamation, pointing out that he had merely disputed the amount of the bill, rather than rejected payment.
Prince Alwaleed said in a letter to Riyadh Gov. Prince Faisal bin Bandar, which has been published through his official Twitter account, that he emphasizes his full respect and commitment to the Saudi justice system.
He expressed his resentment at the court’s decision to defame him in Saudi newspapers after allegedly failing to approach him.
“How can the court ask the (Riyadh Governorate) to inform me of their decision and hand me a copy and then they publish it in newspapers claiming they cannot inform me, which constitutes an unacceptable violation of the system and a clear offense to the (Riyadh Governorate) and to us?” Prince Alwaleed said in his letter to the governor.
He stressed that he had already issued a check for the said amount and it is ready to be delivered, pointing out that he will not give up his right, guaranteed by the system, to contest the judgment.
The Saudi billionaire’s response to the court ruling has been circulating on the social networking site Twitter under the hashtag “Alwaleed is threatened with utility shutdown.”
The hashtag was trending in Saudi Arabia and became one of the most interactive threads in the Kingdom.
Muhammed Al-Nafeesah (@m_nafeesah) tweeted: “Such a successful media management to contain a media crisis that defamed HRH Prince Alwaleed bin Talal... the system violators must be held accountable.”
Abu Hamad Al-Amer (@WlhowvudpX8eDl2) said that the court’s procedure was regular and nothing was wrong with it.
Another Twitter user Bu Muhammad (@M2014___9), a legal counsel, commented on Alwaleed’s tweet saying that it is the Riyadh Governorate’s fault, not the court’s.
“The (Riyadh Governorate) has been notified right after the court issued the verdict and they informed your highness a month and seven days later, where the payment period has passed/expired based on Article 34,” Bu Muhammad wrote.
But Bu Muhammad found it surprising that the prince does not have a lawyer or an office to follow up on the financial, administrative and judicial matters. “You could have paid the bill and then challenge/contest the verdict/ruling, especially that you have the money,” he wrote.