51 fake hajj groups face investigation from Saudi authorities

An aerial view is seen of the Grand Mosque on the second day of Eid al-Adha in the holy city of Makkah, October 5, 2014. (Reuters)

Fifty-one bogus hajj group owners will be referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution in different parts of the Kingdom on fraud charges. The fraudsters were arrested in different locations while they were promoting false hajj packages to con people out of their money. The bureau will refer them to pertinent courts that hand down proper verdicts and provide justice to the victims.

Hajj security forces commander Maj. Gen. Abdulaziz al-Sauli said secret police officers helped in nabbing the organizers of fake hajj packages. Courts will hand down deterrent verdicts to fraudsters, who will also be made to reimburse the victims.

“Part of the blame can be placed on the pilgrims themselves who approached such fake hajj organizers. They should have accessed the Ministry of Hajj website first and check whether these organizers are registered with the ministry or not,” he added. For his part, Ministry of Hajj spokesman Hatim Qadi said: “The ministry had not caught any fake hajj organizers in the Holy Sites, a fact that proves the strenuous and great efforts security officers exerted to prevent the organizers of fake campaigns from reaching the Holy Sites.”

Meanwhile, Col. Sami Al-Shwairekh, commander of media and information, Public Security Agency, said latest statistics showed that checkpoint officers prevented 351,681 persons from entering Makkah because they did not have hajj permits. They also impounded 95,985 vehicles and arrested 1,517 drivers who violated the hajj regulations.

 

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette, Oct. 5, 2014.

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