RIYADH: Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority announced on Saturday that it had initiated a criminal case.
The authority, also known as Nazaha, said that two employees of the Ministry of Interior were arrested for allegedly forcing a resident to sign a SR23 million ($6.1 million) financial commitment to a foreign investor, in exchange for receiving SR60,000 from an investor.
“The names of those arrested are Sergeant of the Court Security (Riyadh region police) Metab Saad Al-Ghnoum, Corporal of the Special Missions Forces in Riyadh Hatem Mastoor Saad bin Tayeb, and Palestinian investor Saleh Mohammed Saleh Al-Shalout,” the authority said in a statement.
“Upon further investigation, several residents were also arrested,” including Bangladeshi residents Ashraf Uddin Aknad, Almgeer Hussain Khan, Shfeeq Alislam Shah Jahan, it added.
The arrests also include Bangladeshi residents Mohammed Nasser Uddin Noor — owner of a recruitment office in his home country, Zaid Uosied Mafy, Abulklam Mohammed Rafeeq Alislam, Aziz Alhaq Muslim Uddin, and visitor Alameen Khan Shahid Allah Khan, “for their involvement in illegal visa trading and money smuggling outside the Kingdom.”
Nazaha said that they admitted to engaging in illegal visa trading with the complicity of employees of the Saudi embassy in Bangladesh, and after “searching their homes, SR20,180,000 was found in cash, as well as gold ingots, and luxury vehicles, which turned out to be the proceeds of illegally selling work visas in the Kingdom.”
The authority said that two more people were arrested as the investigation unfolded, including Head of the Consular Section at the Saudi Embassy in Bangladesh and former Deputy Ambassador Abdullah Falah Mudhi Al-Shammari, and Deputy Head of the Consular Section at the embassy Khaled Nasser Ayed Al-Qahtani.
They were arrested for their complicity with the Bangladeshi national and for receiving SR54 million in installments while working at the embassy in exchange for finalizing the issuances of work visas.
“They acknowledged receiving parts of the money from the arrested residents inside Saudi Arabia and invested the rest outside the Kingdom,” the authority said.
Nazaha said that it would continue to pursue anyone who exploited public office to achieve personal gain or harm the public interest in any way, and that accountability extended far beyond the retirement of individuals as these types of crimes had no statute of limitations.