Saudi Arabia has arrested 226 people involved in 158 criminal corruption cases, the Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) announced on Thursday.
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In a statement highlighting the most prominent cases, Nazaha said investigations found suspects “squandering of public funds and exploiting the influence of the public office in illicit financial gain.”
A total of 48 people were involved in the first case, including 19 Ministry of Defense employees, three government employees, 18 businessmen and eight contract company employees.
“The total amounts obtained from them reached [over 1.2 billion riyals ($327 million)], and procedure is underway to return the looted money to the state treasury,” Nazaha added in the statement.
In one case, the director of quality management in a municipality and two of his brothers were arrested on bribery charges.
They allegedly facilitated “the award of a number of projects for a total amount of 170 million riyals ($453 million) for a contractor working with the municipality.”
They reportedly received 23.2 million riyals ($6.2 million) in exchange for the deal.
The third case listed by Nazaha involved a financial representative employed in the Ministry of Finance. The employee was arrested on bribery charges after receiving 100,000 riyals ($26,663) “in exchange for overlooking some financial irregularities.”
In another bribery case, a retired major general and three employees of a contracting company with the Ministry of National Guard were arrested after reportedly receiving 8.2 million riyals ($2.18 million) from the company's employees in separate payments in the form of cash and checks.
The bribe was allegedly in exchange for helping the company obtain ministry projects and “disbursing its financial statements.”
Fourth case: the arrest of a retired major general and (3) employees of one of the contracting companies with the Ministry of National Guard, as he received an amount of (8,200,000) riyals (bribe) from those employees as separate payments,— Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (@nazaha_en) November 26, 2020
The director of Contracts and Procurement Department in the Health Affairs was arrested in cooperation with the Ministry of Health. He allegedly paid an employee in the Archives Department 70,000 riyals ($18,664) in exchange for “obtaining the patients' illegal paperwork and their financial compensations with the intention of concealing them.”
The last case highlighted involved the arrest of a female employee at the Education Directorate who was caught “red handed” while receiving 20,000 riyals ($5,332) “in exchange of a promise to employ female citizens in a job in the same entity.”
Nazaha also warned that the authority will continue to “pursue anyone who exploits the public office to achieve personal gain or harm the public interest in any way possible .”
The Anti-Corruption Authority was implemented as part of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 plan announced in 2016, where the Kingdom pledged “zero tolerance for all levels of corruption.