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Saudi Arabia: Bin Salman declares war against corruption and drugs

September 18, 2023 at 11:21 am

Mohammed Bin Salman, Prime Minister and Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia [Royal Court of Saudi Arabia/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, has coined the slogan “No one will be spared” to be adopted by officials in the Kingdom’s war against corruption and drugs. The strategy is being pushed by the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority and the General Directorate of Narcotics Control. “Any corrupt individual against whom there is sufficient evidence will be held accountable, regardless of who they are… a prince, a minister or a citizen,” insisted Bin Salman.

The aim is to achieve the highest level of transparency in all government institutions in line with the development of the Kingdom as part of its Vision 2030. The crown prince described members of the Anti-Corruption Commission in 2020 as “knights” waging a “fierce battle” to eradicate corruption from the Kingdom, it was reported by Okaz.

Ironically, a Saudi court sentenced the brother of a prominent cleric to death last month for posting online messages against corruption in the Kingdom. The death sentence apparently disregarded the fact that Mohammad Al-Ghamedi only has nine followers on his X account.

The head of the Control and Anti-Corruption Authority, Mazen Al-Kahmous, pointed out that corruption affects various state institutions across a variety of sectors, including education, health and regulatory bodies. He noted that this is a lethal crime against the security of society because it leads to a delay in the state’s progress.

The Kingdom announced on Saturday that it has arrested 134 people on charges including abuse of influence, bribery, forgery and money laundering. Defendants include individuals from various ministries, including the defence and interior ministries. In 2021, dozens were arrested on corruption charges, 48 of whom were employed by the ministry of defence, the interior ministry and other government bodies.

Read: Saudi Arabia executes more than 100 people this year

In February 2022, the Saudi Anti-Corruption Commission announced the arrest of 234 people for corruption within one month. In June last year, five judges, a former ambassador and a number of officials were jailed for corruption and abuse of power.

According to Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday, Saudi Interior Minister Abdulaziz Bin Saud has confirmed that strong blows have been dealt against drug smugglers and dealers in the “war on drugs”. He noted that the campaign is still in its early days. Nevertheless, a few days ago, the interior ministry announced the arrest of a group of drug dealers in Riyadh in possession of 75 kilograms of hashish. The ministry said on its official X page that among those arrested were three individuals working in the Saudi security sector. This highlighted the need to fight against corruption and drugs at the same time. The Kingdom’s strategy to combat drug smugglings includes prosecuting local traffickers and tightening control and inspections at all land and sea border points, as well as all airports.

Although there are no comprehensive statistics on the drugs seized by the Saudi authorities, the quantities are reported to be massive, claimed Independent Arabia. A major drug seizure was announced by the authorities in Riyadh last month.