New era of transparency and accountability

November 05, 2017

Saudi Gazette report

Riyadh — Ministers, officials and Islamic scholars welcomed the formation of a supreme committee to combat corruption and the subsequent probe started by the committee.

The anti-corruption probe “opens a new era of transparency and accountability,” enhances confidence in the rule of law and improves the Kingdom’s investment climate, the Ministry of Finance said in a statement on Sunday.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman issued a royal decree on Saturday forming a supreme committee headed by the Crown Prince to tackle corruption in public finance.

The members of the supreme committee will be the Chairman of the Monitoring and Investigation Commission, Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority, Chief of the General Audit Bureau, Attorney General and Head of State Security.

The Committee will identify offenses, crimes, persons and entities involved in cases of public corruption.

The Council of Senior Scholars issued a statement saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption.

“May Allah protect Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and the Crown Price who guide the Kingdom to be among the leading countries in fighting corruption,” the Council said in a statement.

Saud Al-Shurem, the Imam at the Grand Mosque in Makkah, said the most important step in financial and administrative reform is to fight corruption.

“When a responsible individual fails to monitor himself, he must be deterred by the authority of the ruler,” he said.

Minister of Culture and Information Awad Al-Awad said that the royal decree on fighting corruption is the state’s approach to promote integrity and advance reforms.

The minister said the King and the Crown Prince are keen to protect public funds and eradicate corruption, which is considered an impediment to the economy and society.

Al-Awad said the fight against corruption is a formal and popular demand to achieve social justice and accelerate the pace of reforms.

The minister said that the Crown Prince’s message in punishing corrupt people is a clear and firm signal that no one will escape accountability.

The royal decree said the anti-corruption committee has the right to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions and freeze bank accounts.

It can also trace funds, prevent the transfer of funds or the liquidation of assets, and take other precautionary measures until cases are referred to the judiciary.

President of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) Dr. Khalid Al-Muhaisen said the royal order confirms the determination of the King and the Crown Prince to uproot corruption.

Minister of Education Dr. Ahmed Al-Issa said that the royal decree heralds a future of firmness against those who are trying to undermine the capabilities of the homeland and the rights of citizens.

At least 11 princes, four sitting ministers and many former ministers have been arrested on orders of the new anti-corruption supreme committee.

The committee announced that it is reopening the file of the 2009 Jeddah floods and investigating the coronavirus issue also known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).

The Attorney General said that the anti-corruption probe will treat everyone with “the same rights and treatment as any other Saudi citizen.”

Sheikh Saud Al-Mojeb stressed that all parties are considered innocent until proven guilty and “retain full legal privileges relating to their personal and private property, including funds.” However, he said a suspect’s position or status will “not influence the fair application of justice.”

The Attorney General said Sunday the newly-formed anti-corruption committee headed by the Crown Prince is conducting investigations to ensure transparency and good governance.

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