Saudi anti-corruption drive paying off, says attorney general

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption campaign has netted more than Dh389 billion in financial settlements

Manama: Saudi Arabia has begun to reap the benefits of the massive anti-corruption campaign in all facilities, the kingdom’s attorney general has said.

“The campaign against graft will remain as long as there is corruption, even in minor issues,” Saud Al Mojeb told Saudi news television Al Ikbariya on Tuesday.

“There are cases being addressed by the prosecution and Saudis would soon hear good news about the anti-graft campaign.”

The Attorney General, a member of the Supreme Anti-Corruption Committee set up in November to fight corruption, did not provide further details.

In January, he said that 56 corruption suspects, out of 381 high-profile figures, including ministers, businessmen and officials detained after the formation of the committee, were still held on graft charges.

Out of court settlements with the other suspects had topped SR400 billion in various forms of assets, which include real estate, commercial entities, securities and cash, he said.

The committee is headed by Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman and comprises the President of the Control and Investigation Board, the President of the National Anti-Corruption Commission, the President of the General Auditing Bureau, the Attorney General at the Public Prosecutor’s Office, and the head of the Presidency of State Security.

Saudi Arabia said the committee’s objective is to discipline the efforts to trace and combat corruption at all levels.

“It will log offenses and crimes related to individuals and entities in cases of corruption involving public funds, investigate cases, issue arrest warrants, travel restrictions, disclose and freeze portfolios and accounts,” they said.

“Its powers include the ability to trace funds and assets, and prevent their transfer or liquidation on behalf of individuals or entities along with the right to take any precautionary actions until cases are referred to relevant investigatory or judiciary authorities.”

Saudi Arabia launched an anti-corruption drive in November, rounding up hundreds of suspects including some of the country’s richest individuals and government ministers.

Billionaire Prince Al Waleed Bin Talal was among those detailed at the 492-room Ritz-Carlton, as was former Finance Minister Ebrahim Al Assaf and Adel Al Fakeih, who was removed as minister of economy and planning on the eve of the arrests.

Saudi Arabia’s anti-corruption campaign has netted more than $106 billion (Dh389 billion, 400 billion riyal) in financial settlements.

According to a statement issued by the government’s information office, Al Mojeb also said that the settlement represented various types of assets including real estate, commercial entities, securities, cash and other assets.

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