Saudi Arabia Strengthens Anti-Corruption Legislation
In a continuation of its recent corruption sweep, Saudi Arabia amended an anti-corruption law on Tuesday, removing a 60-day statute of limitations for investigating allegations against current or former ministers, Reuters reported.
“This amendment will enable the (National Anti-Corruption) Commission and competent authorities to carry out their tasks effectively and efficiently to protect public money, the state’s interests and the national economy from corruption,” the commission’s chairman, Khalid bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Muhaisen, was quoted as saying by state news agency SPA.
Much of the nation’s recent anti-corruption purges can be traced to its youthful Crown Prince, Mohammad bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, known informally as MbS, who was made heir apparent to the throne in June 2017, replacing his cousin, Muhammad bin Nayef, 59.
The new Prince has lost no time in asserting his role as a mover and shaker.
His new invention: the November 2017 detention of hundreds of powerful Saudi elites - including members of his own family. He held them in luxury hotels across Saudi Arabia, including the Ritz-Carlton in Riyadh, where some of the detainees were forced to sleep on the floor of their “gilded prison” for two months. Numerous allegations of torture have since surfaced.
The Prince claimed that the purge recouped as much as US$100 billion stolen by his nation’s oligarchy and royalty over decades.
His supporters called the move a genuine progressive step, while critics deemed it a power grab aimed at consolidating his newly-found power.