Manama: A Saudi national was named and shamed in a local newspaper by the trade and industry ministry for issuing a cheque that bounced.
The unprecedented move by the ministry was ordered by a court in a historic verdict that also sent the defaulter to four months in prison and fined him SR25,000 (Dh24,486).
Ministry officials told local Arabic daily Al Eqtisadiya that more Saudi nationals would be named and shamed as part of a new aggressive campaign to curb the phenomenon of bouncing cheques that has hit the Saudi economy.
The Saudi cabinet in March 2010 called for taking legal and public action against people found guilty of issuing cheques that later bounce. The naming and shaming should be in a newspaper that publishes or sells in the area where the fraud occurred.
“The ministry will henceforth be strict in applying the stringent decisions in order to restore people’s full trust in cheques,” a ministry official said. “A cheque is an official document and any abuse would mean legal and public action.”
The naming and shaming in the Saudi daily included publishing the man’s identity number and the number of the ruling in the case.
“We will work very closely with the interior ministry in the fight against bouncing cheques and there will be a zero-tolerance towards abusers,” the ministry official said, quoted by Al Eqtisadiya on Wednesday.
The ministry last year warned that it would apply the cabinet’s decision to take punitive action against issuing cheques that bounce.
Official Saudi statistics indicate that the cheques that failed in the first quarter of 2011 represented payments worth SR1 billion, an impressive decrease over 2009 when 160,000 cheques worth SR14 billion bounced.
“We have noticed a positive development and this is attributed to the strict application of the law and on the appropriate measures taken to tackle the issue,” Tawfiq Bin Fawzan Al Rabia, the trade and industry minister, said.
Saudi officials said that bounced cheques discouraged local and foreign investment.