x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Men jailed for bribery after deadly Saudi floods

Two men have been jailed in one of the first convictions in a Saudi Arabian corruption investigation started after deadly floods hit Jeddah in 2009 and 2011.

JEDDAH // Two men have been jailed in one of the first convictions in a Saudi Arabian corruption investigation started after deadly floods hit Jeddah in 2009 and 2011.

The deluges killed more than 100 people, stirring accusations that corrupt officials had allowed the construction of residential neighbourhoods in flood-prone areas, ultimately prompting a government investigation.

The defendants were convicted of bribery with each being sentenced to five years in jail. They were also fined 700,000 riyals (Dh685,000), Al Madina daily newspaper reported yesterday, quoting a court report on Tuesday's sentencing.

One of the men, an official who worked at the Jeddah municipality, was accused of receiving a bribe from the other, a businessman, to expedite a land sale.

In two cases heard last week, Jeddah's court of grievances sentenced one group of five men and another two men to prison terms and fines.

King Abdullah ordered an investigation into corrupt practices linked to the floods in 2009. But Jeddah residents remain sceptical about the probe and trials that have followed.

"It was a very big crisis. As a man of justice I don't believe that the investigation has included all parties," said Suliman Al Jumai, a lawyer and Jeddah resident.