Saudi Arabia arrests ex-officials over graft

Cairo: Saudi authorities have announced arresting several ex-officials and businessmen in a number of graft cases as part of a relentless crackdown on corruption in the kingdom.

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They were arrested in connection with several cases involving bribes and financial irregularities, the kingdom’s anti-graft watchdog disclosed.

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The suspects include a plenipotentiary minister who had previously served as an ambassador in an African country, a source at the Saudi Control and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazah) said.

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The diplomat is suspected of having unlawfully issued 203 visas and obtained SR3,000 for each, amassing a total of SR609,000 in one year, the watchdog said, according to the Saudi news agency SPA.

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Financial dues

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In another case, a former ambassador and two employees at the Foreign Ministry were arrested for illegally taking money totaling SR9.2 million from companies dealing with the ministry in exchange for awarding contracts and following up on disbursement of their financial dues.

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A third case, disclosed by Nazaha, involves a retired major general at the Presidency of State Security, an ex-adviser at the Interior Ministry, a retired brigadier at the same ministry, two businessmen and two Arab residents who acted as mediators in the dubious deals.

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The first and the second suspects had set up and enterprises whereby they secured a SR11 million contract for the supply of electronic devices to the Interior Ministry.

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The first suspect had paid SR1.6 million to the third suspect in return for unlawfully awarding the contract, the watchdog said. All the suspects in the case have been arrested.

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

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