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The New Arab Staff

Saudi Arabia arrests 45 in fresh 'anti-corruption' campaign

Hundreds of former officials have been arrested under MbS [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 October, 2020

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Dozens of people, including public servants, are the latest to be arrested as part of Saudi Arabia's wide-reaching anti-corruption drive.

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Saudi Arabia
Saudi authorities arrested at least 45 people, including military officers and public servants, as part of an anti-corruption drive.

The Saudi Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority said on Thursday it had launched more than 800 investigations for criminal and disciplinary cases, including into "suspicion over corruption, profiteering and influence peddling of public posts".

The Anti-Corruption Authority also seized funds and real estate assets worth $160 million, the statement said according to Turkish state news agency Anadolu.

Those arrested included five non-Saudi employees and four businessman, it added. 

In another case, the Authority said it had four army officers and five Defence Ministry contractors over suspicion of profiteering in a project.

Another 14 people, including two police officers, were also detained over alleged embezzlement and bribery.

Previous detention waves targeting so-called corruption have been widely condemned by critics who accuse Saudi Crown Prince and de-facto ruler Mohammed bin Salman of utilising anti-corruption sentiments to purge potential rivals and gain financial assets.

Shortly after coming to power in 2017, the crown prince launched a purge targeting a number of high-profile officials and businessmen in the kingdom. Hundreds were detained in Riyadh's Ritz-Carlton hotel, where torture allegedly took place, and authorities seized more than $100 billion.

A number of royal family members have been detained in recent years.

In September, a royal decree saw Princes Fahd bin Turki bin Abdulaziz Al Saud and Abdulaziz bin Fahd relieved from their positions and referred to the anti-corruption watchdog for investigation.

Senior Saudi security commanders were among a string of officials sacked in August over graft allegations at tourism projects.

In March, Human Rights Watch voiced alarm over the arrest of 298 Saudi officials over corruption allegations, warning of possible "unfair legal proceedings" in an opaque judicial system.

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