Majority of those detained in Saudi corruption probe agree to settlement

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Saudi Arabia’s attorney general has released a statement on his committee’s finding regarding a recent probe into corruption in the kingdom.

The statement said 320 persons were summoned by the commission with the addition of others after first investigations began on Nov. 9 based on the information provided by the detainees.

The anti-corruption commission referred a number of the arrested to the kingdom’s public prosecutor’s office. The number of detainees to date stands at 159.

“Most of those who have been confronted with corruption charges against them by the committee have agreed to a settlement and the necessary procedures are being completed,” the statement said.

“The Public Prosecution examined the files of those referred to it in accordance with the relevant legal procedures and decided to detain a limited number of them and released the rest,” the attorney general’s statement added.

According to the statement, the total number of those who have been detained and whose accounts have been frozen stands at 376.

The statement on the next phases of the investigation reads below:

Phase I: The Negotiation and Settlement Phase:

This stage is based on a system according to which the Royal Order, referred to above, states that the committee “decides what it deems beneficial in the public interest, especially with those who have responded positively to them.”

Accordingly, the Committee has followed internationally applied methods in dealing with these cases by negotiating with detainees on the corruption charges, and offering a settlement agreement to facilitate the recovery of state funds and shortening the litigation procedures that usually take a long time.

It should be noted that all detainees are free to communicate with whoever they wish at this stage, that they are not being coerced in anyway, and have the right to reject the settlement at any time before signing. As such the following underlines:

1. Charging the detainee with all the crimes against him. If he fully and voluntarily pleads guilty, he will sign a settlement agreement to be paid to the State in exchange for the Committee's recommendation of an amnesty for the rights of the state. Accordingly, a settlement agreement shall be signed containing such references.

2. In the event of failure to reach a settlement or if the detainee pleaded not guilty, he is referred to the Public Prosecution to complete the legal proceedings against him.

Phase II: Referral to the Public Prosecution:

The Public Prosecution shall consider the case referred to it by the Committee and shall complete the statutory procedures:

1. Continuing to investigate and confronting the accused with evidence and proof against him in corruption offenses in accordance with the investigation procedures provided for in the Code of Criminal Procedure.

2. He shall be in detention for the duration of the investigation. If the evidence against him is strong,he shall be suspended in accordance with the prescribed periods which can reach six months in accordance with the powers of the Attorney-General, or, in exceptional cases, by a decision of the competent court.

3. The Public Prosecution shall release the accused as soon as the investigation has concluded that the evidence against the detainee is insufficient and that there is no basis for prosecution. Otherwise, the case shall be brought against him in accordance with the regular procedures.

Finally, the Attorney General reiterated that the Code of Criminal Procedure provided the accused with a number of rights, including, but not limited to, the right to seek assistance from an agent or a lawyer in the investigation and trial stages, the right to communicate with whoever he wishes to inform of his detention, the right not to be held in detention for more than six months unless a competent court has ruled in favor, and that it is prohibited to physically injure, torture or humiliate him.

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