Corrupt ministers face up to 10 years in jail in Saudi Arabia

Corrupt ministers will also be punished according to the law if they receive any benefits for themselves or others

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A minister who misuses his power and influence for benefits in cash or kind will be jailed for three to 10 years if found guilty after trial, according to a bylaw on the trial of ministers.

The same punishment will apply if a minister violates any law thus causing financial losses for the State or if he denies legal rights of individuals or if his action results in manipulating the prices of goods and real estate or currency and bonds and if he tries to gain financial benefits for himself or others.

Corrupt ministers will also be punished according to the law if they receive any benefits for themselves or others. “A convicted minister will be removed from his position and prevented from taking up public posts or membership of authorities, corporations and companies or any other job,” according to Article Six of the bylaw.

An investigation committee comprising two ministers or those in the same rank and a member in the rank of a Supreme Court chief justice will be formed to study the issue and probe the accused minister.

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The committee will have to submit its report within 30 days after its formation. The report will be discussed by the Cabinet in the absence of the minister. If the Cabinet confirms the accusation, it will appoint a five-member judicial commission to try him.

The commission will have three ministers and two senior judges of the rank of a Supreme Court chief justice. The commission should not include any relative of the accused minister while its chairman will be the senior most minister. The commission will have the right to issue its verdict against a minister if he is found guilty and ask him to pay compensation for any damages caused by him to any person.

The Cabinet will inform the accused minister in writing that his case has been transferred for trial. It will also issue an order to imprison the minister as a precautionary measure until the trial’s first session. The judicial authority will have the right to extend the minister’s imprisonment if required.

The Cabinet will also prevent the accused minister from any official work until a final verdict is issued. After the issuance of the verdict, his salary will be stopped. He will be terminated from service only after the beginning of criminal proceedings.

This report was first published in Saudi Gazette on December 15, 2016

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