Cairo: A number of well-to-do Saudis have been found to have illegally benefited from a government cash aid programme, a Saudi official has disclosed.
The offenders withheld “substantial” information about their incomes, thus violating rules of the national support scheme, officially dubbed “Citizen’s Account”, the programme’s communication head Abdullah Al Hajri added.
The exposed cases included six people who had illegally received monthly cash transfers for more than two years, the official said.
“Each owns 79 properties generating annual revenues through documented rent contracts that they did not disclose,” Al Hajri told Al Riyadh newspaper.
Subsequently, financial support to them was discontinued. ”The programme will apply Article No 20 to anyone who uses fraudulent means to illegally obtain subsidy,” said the official.
“This article stipulates that anyone presenting misleading information or documents, or withholding any substantial information or resorting to any means of fraud will be denied subsidy for a maximum of two years, or be requested to return the subsidy illegally obtained, or be subjected to both measures,” Al Hajri added.
The “Citizen’s Account” programme was launched in 2017 to protect Saudi households from direct and indirect effects of economic reforms in the kingdom through monthly cash transfers into their accounts.
Nearly 11 million citizens benefit from the scheme, which has paid out over SR127 billion to beneficiaries since its launch.