Saudi’s King Salman orders creation of departments to combat corruption

The kingdom is preparing to undertake legal proceedings against 56 individuals still held after November’s corruption purge

Saudi monarch King Salman has approved the creation of specialised departments to deal with corruption cases at the Public Prosecution.

The move follows last November’s corruption crackdown, which snared hundreds of businessmen, royals and government officials.

The kingdom’s attorney general said in January that 56 individuals of 381 subpoenaed during the investigation were still in custody and are expected to face legal proceedings.

A total of nearly $107bn in settlements was received from those released in the form of real estate, commercial entities, securities, cash and other assets.

Read: Saudi says $107bn received in corruption settlements

The new departments will be directly linked to attorney general Sheikh Saud Al Mojeb and seek to “combat corruption in all its forms and with the aim of protecting the country and its resources”, according to the official Saudi Press Agency.

They are designed to improve the effectiveness and quality of the work being done by prosecutors and accelerate corruption cases, which were previously being handled by the department of crimes against public office.

“The Public Prosecutor’s Office is the exclusive authority to investigate all criminal cases. The Public Prosecution’s investigation of the legality of the judicial investigation is based on its immunity in the face of ‘objective” judicial review’, subject to the integrity or invalidity of the procedure in its preliminary stage or beyond,” according to the announcement.

The kingdom’s corruption purge has been led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, who described the process in an interview last month as a cancer that needed to be purged.

“You have a body that has cancer everywhere, the cancer of corruption. You need to have chemo, the shock of chemo, or the cancer will eat the body,” he told the Washington Post.

He said the settlements would help the kingdom reach its budget targets this year.

Read: Saudi’s corruption purge needed to support budget – Crown Prince

Last week, US magazine Forbes removed all Saudis from its rich list, including the country’s most famous businessman Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, due to a lack of clarity regarding the settlements they had made with authorities.`

Read: Forbes removes all Saudis from rich list following corruption purge