Judges, officials held in graft cases in Saudi Arabia

Cairo: Saudi authorities have disclosed the arrest of judges and government employees over involvement in several graft cases as the kingdom pursues a relentless crackdown on corruption.


The state Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority said it has recently handled a number of cases including one in which a judge and 12 government employees comprising two ex-governors, an encroachment committee chief, a land department head and two court employees were arrested.


In the case, the anti-graft watchdog stopped disbursement of SR100 million (around 26.5 million dollars) in compensation for expropriation of 32 properties located within the storage basin of a dam in one of the regions after the issuance of title deeds was found unlawful. An appeal judge, who headed the court at that time, was arrested for having received bribes for issuing the deeds, according to an official source at the watchdog said.


In a second case, a judge, an ex-chief of an execution court, was arrested for receiving SR2.5 million in bribes from an attorney and international travel tickets from a businessman in return for offering to them legal services affecting the course of cases at the court.


A third judge at an administrative court was also arrested in another case for having taken SR1.6 million from an owner of a company through a mediator in exchange for issuing rulings in favour of that firm.


Moreover, 12 foreign residents and a Gulf state national were arrested for enabling a container carrying tobacco to illegally enter a seaport, claiming it was carrying furniture. The expatriates were arrested upon receiving the container and paying SR920,000 out of the SR2 million at a warehouse that belonged to the Gulf citizen.

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In recent years, Saudi Arabia has stepped up a crackdown on white-collar corruption, arresting dozens of state employees and entrepreneurs.

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