Give back our stolen funds


Okaz Newspaper

WE have now become vigilant and wide awake. The time of slumber is gone forever. We used to hear news about any big incident days after it happens. The data was scant and the opinions conflicting. Now all of us are participants in the transmission and reception of news. The night the apprehension of a number of princes, ministers and businessmen accused of corruption was announced, many files that have pained and agonized the citizens have been reopened.

One of the most important files people were anxiously waiting to know about was the stock market crash. People wanted to know who manipulated the stock market and stole their money in the worst game that was ever played in the country.

This file should be reopened with the intention of reimbursing the stolen funds to their actual owners. It is not enough to point a finger at those who were responsible for the market crash. What is important here is to reimburse the funds people have illegitimately lost. The citizens in this case will become confident that the uncovering of the corruption and the corrupt will help them regain their lost funds.

The citizens are not concerned about the arrest and trial of the corrupt but they are rather concerned about getting back the huge amounts of money they lost in the stock market crash. What does it mean to us if the corrupt are uncovered and put on trial but our lost funds have not been given back to us?

The other big files that should be reopened are those concerning the thefts of public land. Our large geographical area has become small due to land sharks stealing huge pieces of land in thousands of square meters and some times in square kilometers. The sharks were even able to obtain deeds to prove that they were the real owners of the stolen land.

The thefts were so huge that the Ministry of Housing has been complaining that it does not have sufficient land to give to citizens to build homes.

The citizens are looking for small pieces of land to build houses that will accommodate them and their families but they cannot find them. Even when some plots are available, the prices are too high for them.

The influential businessmen did not spare the public places too. They went too far to steal land along the seashore.

If I was a member of the anti-graft committee under Crown Prince Muhammad Bin Salman, deputy premier and defense minister, I would immediately work to unearth the deeds under which a number of princes, ministers and ranking businessmen have acquired land along the shores of Jeddah.

Even if the ownerships deeds are clean and legitimate, the properties should be confiscated and their owners should be compensated from money retrieved from the sharks who stole and sold the land.

Influential citizens who illegally obtained the land along the seashore should not go unquestioned. Their illegitimate properties should be confiscated and they should be made to clean the areas and remove the debris as a form of punishment.

This is of course a wish but if it is realized, Jeddah will regain its stolen properties and its residents will be extremely happy.

Other important files that the committee should consider are of the Jeddah flood crisis of 2009. The big shots sold plots of land in the bottom of the valleys and along the flood path for illegal construction.

I have no doubt that the regaining of the stolen land will enrich the state treasury because the theft was so huge.

Some judges and notaries public might have been involved in these thefts because they enabled the sharks to obtain illegal land deeds.

The scandal of the SAWA scam is another issue that should be revisited by the committee. Investigations into the case were closed because some big guns were involved.

I want the committee to give back to the citizens their stolen funds and land plots. The government is capable of restoring its own rights.