Graft cases: 2 criminal circuits set up

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Okaz/Saudi Gazette

JEDDAH — The Supreme Judicial Council has established two criminal circuits in the criminal courts of Riyadh and Jeddah to look into corruption cases of suspects who refuse to make settlements by insisting on going to the court.

According to reliable sources, each circuit consists of three judges who will consider the charges against those who refuse to make settlement with the government.

The sources said the Public Prosecution will soon start investigating a number of people held up at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Riyadh on corruption charges.

The hotel will go back to its normal business and will start receiving clients from Feb. 25 as the first phase of the corruption drive draws to a close.

The sources said the release or detention of any suspect is the discretion of investigators.

They said the detention of any suspect should not exceed six months after which they will be sent to courts under clear-cut lists of charges to be prepared by the Attorney General.

They said it is the Public Prosecution alone which will decide to press charges against any suspect, to send him to court where he will be tried according to normal procedures or set him free.

The sources said the Public Prosecutor also has the right to subpoena new suspects or witnesses.

In recent press reports, Attorney General Saud Al-Muajib said 90 suspects were cleared but 95 of them were still detained in the hotel.

He said five suspects who were considering settlements with the government were later released.

Two prominent Saudi lawyers expected the suspects to face 14 charges including those related to bribery, forgery, money laundering, power misuse, dissipating public funds, amassing wealth at the expense of the government and others.

If condemned, the suspects will be imprisoned for at least 10 years and fined SR1 million in addition to the confiscation of the amounts of money illegally gained through corruption, said Lawyer and legal consultant Saad Al-Bahouth.


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