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Corruption complaints up 50% in Saudi Arabia

Corruption complaints up 50% in Saudi Arabia

The Saudi National Anti-Corruption Commission received 15,591 reports in 2018, compared to 10,402 the previous year

Official complaints to the Saudi National Anti-Corruption Commission, Nazaha, went up by 50 per cent in 2018 as the kingdom strives to battle financial and administrative misconduct.

According to statistics released by the commission, Nazaha received 15,591 reports in 2018, compared to 10,402 the previous year. Investigations have been completed for 59 per cent of the complaints, with 4.4 per cent referred to the Control and Investigation Board, and 3.37 per cent to the kingdom’s Presidency of State Security.

Nazaha – which translates to ‘integrity’ – was established as an independent authority by royal decree in 2011, and aims to create a work environment of integrity, transparency, honesty, justice and equality. The statistics were released as part of the National Strategy for the Protection of Integrity and Combating Corruption, and Vision 2030.

Saudi Arabia has taken graft seriously in recent years, most visibly with its high profile corruption crackdown that ran from November 2017 to February this year. As part of the campaign, scores of princes, politicians and businessmen were rounded up and detained. Some 87 people confessed to charges against them and reached settlements that included the forfeiture of real estate, companies, cash and other assets. More than $106bn was recovered by the state through these settlements.

Read Saudi winds down 15-month anti-corruption campaign

In January, the kingdom also suspended 126 local government employees from various municipalities on corruption charges.

Writing on Twitter at the time, the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs said: “They are charged with involvement in a number of cases including financial and managerial corruption, abuse of power as well as other legal and criminal violations.”

Subsequent to the 2017 crackdown, Saudi Arabia launched a new office to monitor state spending. The financial reporting office is part of the state’s General Auditing Bureau, which watches out for financial discrepancies.

 

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