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Saudi Arabia to toughen fund-raising rules

Unlicensed campaigners to be jailed for up to two years

Gulf News

Manama: Fundraising rules in Saudi Arabia are set to be toughened if a proposed draft is endorsed by the Shura Council.

Under the draft, anyone found raising funds or promoting a campaign to collect financial contributions in Saudi Arabia without authorisation will be sentenced to a minimum of six months and a maximum of up to two years.

Only Saudi nationals can be involved in fund-raising campaigns, and foreigners will be deported immediately after serving a prison term decided by courts. The draft will be debated by the Shura on Wednesday.

A fine of up to 500,000 riyals will be imposed on any association or group that is involved in unlicensed fund-raising or that spends the funds it raises in ways that are different from the ones stated in the application. The fine is automatically doubled in case of a repeat, Saudi daily Okaz reported on Monday.

Contributions and donations are accepted only from Saudi donors and printing houses cannot print fund-raising coupons unless they receive a copy of the campaign approval, the draft prepared by the Social Affairs Committee at the Shura said.

All details related to every fund-raising activity have to be recorded in a report that is submitted to the authorities less than one month after the event is over.

Non-compliance with the rules could entail the cancellation of the licence to engage in fund-raising activities or receive donations, the draft warns.

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