Saudi Arabia does not forget its citizens

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Riyadh newspaper

TOURISM is an international industry and source of main income for countries such as France, Spain, Thailand and the United States. Naturally, each country will want to know in advance the purpose of the arriving tourists and that is why they are asking for a visa in advance.

Despite the fact that countries welcome trusts and their money, there is this fear of them carrying large amount in cash because of money-laundering, terror financing and evasion of taxes. The most important thing at the end is that the tourists will not use this amount for illegal purposes, that is why most countries tend to return the large amount back to the tourist if he/ she failed or made a mistake of not declaring the amount.

What happened to me in Panama is a perfect example of seizing my money using the law as a coverup. In addition to my personal experience, I have heard from many sources that there is an intention to seize the amount using any excuse. I personally have documents that my money was seized and was deposited in the government account as of August 30. This only indicates that the case is over from the beginning. The investigation and meeting with the lawyers is just formalities or coverup. It is internationally known that money and property should never be seized until there is a court order to that affect.

I have visited 96 countries and I was always honest in declaring cash in my possession, like I did in Panama because I know everything ends once the amount is authenticated with the custom officials at the airport. One month before I traveled to Panama, I entered the United States with my family carrying large amount of cash. The officer understood the reason why I was carrying this large cash with me when he saw the number of my family members.

After seizing my amount in Panama, I learned, when I was writing this article, that I can travel after few days, all thanks to the good efforts of our Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The fact that I was allowed to travel outside of Panama is a clear indication that I am only a traveler and I was not charged with anything. This shows that the amount that was seized was done illegally.

I personally believe that the country that defames its reputation by such acts, will later suffer severely when the number of tourists drop or when other countries diplomatically treat them the same way.

Enforcing the law is not always the excuse. The law does not change and it cannot be selectively applied. The spirit of the law will take into consideration some of the cases. In another words, even if the law of the country states to seize the amount in certain cases, then they should look into the situation of the tourists who will stay without any money. Why would they seize his money when he is carrying the nationality of another country, then ask him to hire a lawyer for $4000? How do you want him to pay for a ticket and leave the country or pay for the hotel until the court date?

Despite the extreme difficulty I faced, I am proud of my country which responded quickly. I have received many calls from the foreign ministry, our embassies in Washington, Mexico and Peru, all asking about me and following up with my case.

Our country’s care is not directed at me only. Last year, our government spent $15,000,000 in lawyers fees who are following up cases with our students on scholarship and never asked any of them to pay back the amount. Add to that there is a special office in each embassy specialized in following up with citizen’s cases and pay for their lawyers until they return back home.

I personally learned a lot from this experience and will share it with you later.


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