Dubai: The Saudi Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) has announced it has arrested 141 employees from six ministries over corruption in December.
These employees were working in the Ministry of Interior, Ministry of National Guard, Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Education, and Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing.
The suspects were implicated in a range of serious offences, including bribery, abuse of authority, money laundering and forgery.
Nazaha conducted 1,481 oversight visits and investigated 207 individuals, leading to these arrests.
The report details that while some of those detained have been released on bail, the initiative represents a decisive action in curbing corrupt practices within government departments.
In Saudi Arabia, the legal consequences for bribery offences can be severe, including up to ten years’ imprisonment, fines up to SR1 million and removal or being barred from public offic.
For offering or promising a bribe that is rejected, the penalty can be up to ten years’ imprisonment and a fine of up to SR1 million.
The Saudi law also allows for the confiscation of the proceeds of crime and, for repeat offenders, a punishment of more than the maximum penalty prescribed for the crime but not exceeding double.
Companies can face fines up to 10 times the value of the bribe and be barred from entering into procurement contracts.
The legal consequences for money laundering in Saudi Arabia are stringent, including a fine of up to SR7 million, up to 15 years of imprisonment and travel ban for nationals as well as deportation for non-Saudi nationals upon sentence completion.
Additionally, there is a criminal penalty of between one month and one year of imprisonment and/or a fine of between SR5,000 and SR50,000 for anyone who commits an act of abuse, unless a higher penalty is provided for under Sharia law or other regulations in force.
As for forgery, New strict laws in Saudi Arabia prescribe punishments of up to 10 years in jail and a fine of up to $266,000 (approximately 1 million riyals) for forgery crimes.