Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 29 May 2020

Coronavirus: Saudi Arabia investigates corruption cases related to pandemic

The government is pursuing public and private sector employees suspected of making money illicitly from Covid-19

Saudis exercise with an online video to collect Ramadan donations amid the coronavirus on May 13, 2020. Reuters
Saudis exercise with an online video to collect Ramadan donations amid the coronavirus on May 13, 2020. Reuters

Saudi authorities has opened investigations into 117 corruption cases in the country this Ramadan, the government said, touting an anti-graft campaign despite the coronavirus pandemic.

Staff at a security company falsified documents to gain more payroll subsidies designed to mitigate the virus-related economic slowdown, the Control and Anti-corruption Authority announced on Monday.

Several employees in the private and public sector also sought to make commissions or pay bribes in Jeddah and elsewhere on hotel-room lease contracts that were used for coronavirus quarantines, a statement by the authority said.

“The authority is continuing its pursuit of anyone who uses a public job to achieve personal gain or to damage the common interest,” the statement said.

The kingdom has mobilised its bureaucracy and security apparatus to try and contain the contagion, while trying to maintain economic activity. But infections spiked over the last week.

The Health Ministry said on Monday that it registered another 2,593 cases, the fifth straight day that daily infections have exceeded 2,000. The total number of people in the kingdom recorded as infected with the coronavirus has reached 57,345, among them 320 have died, the ministry said.

In non-virus related corruption, two members of the tax department staff were caught taking bribes in return for reducing levies on private companies.

One lawyer and three members of the attorney general office were found to have tampered with court documents, the statement by the anti-corruption authority said.

In the eastern governorate of Jubail, a member of a royal commission entrusted with developing the province took a bribe from two business owners to set up shop in the areas, the statement added.

Updated: May 19, 2020 02:25 PM

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