Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption authorities arrest 226, seize SR1.2bn

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption authorities arrest 226, seize SR1.2bn
More than 150 criminal cases have been launched by Saudi Arabia's Control and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha). (File/AFP)
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Updated 28 November 2020

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption authorities arrest 226, seize SR1.2bn

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption authorities arrest 226, seize SR1.2bn
  • Saudi leadership’s ‘zero tolerance’ message was clear, says Nazaha spokesman

JEDDAH: A Saudi municipal director of quality management who, along with his brothers, accepted SR23 million ($6.13 million) in bribes was among the latest batch of corruption cases handled by authorities in the Kingdom.

The siblings who received the illegal payoffs helped to facilitate SR170 million worth of projects to a number of businessmen, according to the country’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha).
The case was among 158 recently dealt with by the authority. As well as making 226 arrests, Nazaha seized SR1.2 billion, which was returned to the state treasury, and uncovered the largest case of corruption to date in the Ministry of Defense.
It began investigating 48 parties — 19 employees within the Ministry of Defense, three government employees, 18 businessmen, and eight contracted employees.
Another case involved the arrest of a Ministry of Finance employee for accepting a SR100,000 bribe to overlook financial irregularities in a SR23 million project.
And the arrests also included a major general and three contracted employees with the Ministry of National Guard for accepting bribes amounting to more than SR8 million.
The authority pledged to maintain its clampdown on those abusing their positions in public office for personal gain, including retirees, because “crimes of financial and administrative corruption have no statute of limitations.”
Ahmed Al-Hussein, Nazaha’s spokesman in Riyadh, told Al-Ekhbariya TV that the Saudi leadership’s “zero tolerance” message was clear in that “any questioning into financial and administrative criminal acts and corruption applies to all, no matter the rank or social status.”

HIGHLIGHT

The case was among 158 recently dealt with by the authority. As well as making 226 arrests, Nazaha seized SR1.2 billion, which was returned to the state treasury, and uncovered the largest case of corruption to date in the Ministry of Defense.

He said: “Crimes included forgery, bribery, money laundering, using company funds for personal gain, squandering public funds and embezzlement — all related to criminal misconduct in a public office.”
Ashraf Al-Siraj, lawyer and chairman of the National Committee for Prisoners, their Families and Ex-Convicts (Tarahum), told Arab News that Nazaha’s role was to monitor and investigate cases in which government employees were suspected of corruption and public work exploitation.
“These individuals are then investigated and if proven guilty are transferred to the designated court to carry out an appropriate sentence,” he said.
The Kingdom had got “its eyes set” on the corrupt and was focused on rooting out all forms of misconduct, Al-Siraj added.
“No one is above the law, and it will be upheld whether the individual is a police officer, a businessman, or someone in a position of power within any sector. Nazaha is working diligently, and with our leadership’s directions the country will become clean.”


Saudi Arabia advances in global COVID-19 research ranking

Saudi Arabia advances in global COVID-19 research ranking
Education Minister Hamad Al-Sheikh. (SPA)
Updated 25 January 2021

Saudi Arabia advances in global COVID-19 research ranking

Saudi Arabia advances in global COVID-19 research ranking
  • Saudi Arabia continues to be ranked first in the Arab World and 12th among the G20 member states

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia has been ranked 14th internationally for its COVID-19 university research, rising from its previous 17th ranking, according to the database of the Web of Science.

The Kingdom continues to be ranked first in the Arab World and 12th among the G20 member states.

Education Minister Hamad Al-Sheikh thanked King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman for their support for education, for attaching great importance to research and innovation, and for supporting scientists and researchers in Saudi universities to become globally competitive.

He said that this achievement was a continuation of the efforts of the Kingdom in addressing the COVID-19 pandemic. This reflected the Kingdom’s capabilities when it came to managing crises.

Al-Sheikh said that Saudi universities had published 84 percent of the Kingdom’s COVID-19 research, and that the Kingdom had published 915 scientific papers by local scientists since the outbreak of the pandemic.

He thanked Saudi universities that contributed to publishing the research papers as well as the faculty members and researchers who were serving their community.

Al-Sheikh said that this achievement reflected the Ministry of Education’s keenness to organize events that enhanced the participation of Saudi universities, research centers, researchers and academics in supporting scientific research during the pandemic.

This was in addition to coordinating the efforts of universities through specialized workshops to improve the efficiency of research and its contribution to fighting COVID-19, discussing ways to prevent and treat the disease, and investing in the research capabilities of the staff of universities and research centers by finding scientific solutions that contributed to addressing the pandemic.

The Kingdom vs. COVID-19
How Saudi Arabia acted swiftly and coordinated a global response to fight the coronavirus, preventing a far worse crisis at home and around the world
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