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Crime

Saudi Arabia’s Nazaha arrests managers, employees, citizens in 16 corruption cases

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Saudi Arabia’s Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) has initiated several criminal cases involving bribes and fraud, adding that “legal procedures against the accused are underway,” the authority said in a statement on Tuesday.

The statement highlighted 16 different corruption cases.

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The first case, according to the authority, is of three members of the Muslim World League (MWL) who were involved in receiving bribes to increase a project’s value.

The three members were given 5,767,500 riyals ($1,537,623) in installments from an executive director of one of the contracting commercial entities associated with MWL in exchange for their approval to increase the value of one project to 27 million riyals ($7.2 million).

“The employees used bank accounts of commercial entities belonging to their relatives to receive those funds with the aim of concealing their source,” according to the statement.

In another case, a project manager in a “major contracting company was arrested for obtaining 1,900,000 riyals ($506,542.66) in installments from a commercial entity in exchange for enabling the entity to obtain subcontracts with its projects in the Holy Mosque [of Mecca] and embezzling 50,000,000 riyals ($13,330,070) from the same company, with the participation of one of the company’s accountants (a resident), his share was 25,000,000 riyals ($6,665,035),” Nazaha said.

With the cooperation of the Saudi Central Bank, three employees of one of the banks were arrested for establishing commercial entities and opening bank accounts to use them in depositing cash, in exchange for receiving 400 riyals ($106.64) of every 100,000 riyals ($26,660.14) deposited.

Nazaha also arrested four citizens for “establishing commercial entities and opening bank accounts to use in depositing cash in exchange for a percentage of those amounts, in addition to arresting four residents for collecting cash and depositing them in those accounts, where the total deposits amounted to approximately 150,000,000 riyals ($39,990,210) transferred outside Saudi Arabia.

The fourth case by the authority involves a notary who was arrested for receiving 2,600,000 riyals ($693,163.64) from a businessman, who was also arrested, in exchange for illegally completing four ownership transfers with a total area of more than 40,000 square meters.

In another case, four employees of a university, a citizen, and a resident who previously worked together were arrested for establishing two commercial entities, obtaining 10,000,000 riyals ($2,666,014) worth of projects from the university along with signing invalid work completion certificates.

The sixth case, which was opened with the cooperation of the Kingdom’s interior and health ministries, involved several social media ads that claimed to modify the health status of individuals in the Tawakkalna to “immune” in exchange for a fee.

“The investigations revealed that 20 citizens and residents illegally modified their health status,” the statement said, adding that other fraudulent ads were monitored, and the accused individuals were referred to the competent authorities.

The seventh case, a cooperation between Nazaha and the ministries of energy and Islamic Affairs, Dawah and Guidance, involves several citizens and residents who stole electricity from mosques.

“Legal procedures are underway to refer them to the competent authority to take necessary action against the perpetrators according to the law and regulations,” the authority said.

In another case, an employee of the General Presidency for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, a businessman, and a resident were arrested. The employee had received 126,646 riyals ($33,764) from the businessman in exchange for signing invalid work completion certificates.

Nazaha said in the ninth case, female employees working in the Education and Training Evaluation Commission’s ‘Qiyas’ program were arrested for leaking the General Aptitude and Achievement test questions to a number of their relatives.

The tenth case involved the arrest of six residents for paying amounts to an employee working as a field observer in a sub-municipality in one of the regions, who was arrested for receiving 264,050 riyals ($70,390.69) in installments from several commercial entities in exchange for him to ignore violations.

“A resident working for a company contracting with a municipality was arrested for being caught in the act of receiving 50,000 riyals ($13,329.05) out of a promised 80,000 riyals ($21,326.47) in exchange for finalizing a paperwork process in the General Administration of Survey in the same municipality,” in another case by Nazaha.

In the twelfth case, the head of the licenses department in a sub-municipal area in one of Saudi Arabia’s regions was arrested for being caught in the act of receiving 25,000 riyals ($6,664.52) in exchange for illegally issuing a municipal license to a hotel.

In another case, a “municipal employee was arrested for being caught in the act of receiving 1,500 riyals ($400), which represents the last payment of a total of 17,500 riyals ($4,665.17) in exchange for illegally finalizing the procedures of measurements of a land, in order to enable its owner to obtain compensation for it.”

The fourteenth case by Nazaha involves a field observer in a municipality who was arrested for receiving 10,000 riyals ($2,665.81) in exchange for not removing an unlawful residential building.

“An employee working in the National Water Company was arrested for being caught in the act of requesting 5,000 riyals ($1,332.9) in exchange for completing the procedures for extending water supply system lines to a citizen,” a statement said regarding another case.

An employee and a nurse working in a public hospital were arrested for receiving sums of money in exchange for allowing several residents to illegally benefit from healthcare services provided by the hospital in the sixteenth case by the authority.

“Nazaha affirms on the continuation to pursue anyone who exploits the public office to achieve personal gain or harm public interest in any way, and that the accountability extends far beyond the retirement of individuals, as these types of crimes have no statute of limitations,” the statement by the authority concluded.

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