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Cairo: Saudi Arabia’s state anti-corruption watchdog has disclosed that it arrested 166 government employees suspected of graft last month as the country is pursuing a relentless anti-corruption clampdown.

The Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority, known as Nazaha, said it had carried out 1,790 monitoring tours in April and interrogated 268 suspects including employees from the ministries of interior, defence, the national guard, justice, human resources, social development and municipal and village affairs.

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Of them, 166 suspects were arrested. Some of them were later released on bail, according to the watchdog.

They are accused of bribery, job exploitation, money laundering, and forgery. Procedural measures are being completed before referring them to trial, it added.

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In recent years, hundreds of state employees and entrepreneurs have been arrested and interrogated over dubious dealings and waste of public money.

In 2017, a Saudi anti-corruption swoop netted dozens of royals, state officials and business tycoons. They were briefly detained in a luxury Riyadh hotel pending investigations over suspected graft.

Last year, Saudi Arabia announced uncovering a multi-million-riyal graft case involving diplomats, security personnel and expatriates linked to illegal trade in labour visas.

Nazha disclosed the names of 13 suspects, including two diplomats who worked at the Saudi embassy in Bangladesh. by

The high-profile case started when two employees at the Saudi Interior Ministry were arrested for forcing a resident to sign SR23 million financial commitment in favour of a Palestinian investor who was also arrested.

Ensuing investigations led to the arrest of three Bangladeshi residents, who admitted to having traded in visas in collusion with employees at the Saudi embassy in Bangladesh.

When their houses were searched, SR20.1 million was found, along with gold pieces and bars as well as classy cars, which transpired to be earnings from sales of visas for working in the kingdom..