Riyadh, November 6: Saudi Arabia taking a huge step to eradicate the corruption in Kingdom arrested 11 princes, 4 ministers and a number of former government ministers on Saturday as it is re-examining the 2009 Jeddah floods and investigating the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Notably, the newly made anti-corruption committee headed by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on Saturday evening arrested at least 11 princes, 4 ministers and a number of former government ministers as it is re-examining the corruption involved in 2009 Jeddah floods and investigating the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus, which emerged in Saudi Arabia in 2012.
Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who owns investment firm Kingdom Holding, top security official Prince Miteb bin Abdullah, chairman of the Saudi Binladin construction group Bakr bin Laden, the owner of the MBC television network Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, Khaled Tuweijri, AlWalid Ibrahim, Turki Bin Naser, Adel Fakih are amongst those arrested by Saudi Arabia authorities.
The committee after arresting prominent leaders said it is relaunching a probe into the devastating floods that killed over 120 people in the city of Jeddah in 2009 while inflicting millions in property damage. In wake of the wide-ranging investigation, concluded in December 2014, the Saudi court found 45 people guilty, including senior officials, on charges of bribery, misuse of power and public funds, money laundering and illicit business operations.
Another high-profile case resumed by the anti-corruption committee is the investigation into the outbreak of the so-called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in Saudi Arabia in 2014, which resulted in nearly 300 deaths and the ouster of the country’s health minister.
Importantly, the arrests come hours after the new anti-corruption committee was formed. The panel is tasked with identifying 'offences, crimes, persons and entities involved in cases of public corruption'. King Salman decreed the creation of an anti-corruption committee chaired by his 32-year-old son Prince Mohammed. King Salman while creating this new anti-corruption committee said, “The homeland will not exist unless corruption is uprooted and the corrupt are held accountable.”
On the other side, the analysts said the goal of the purge went beyond corruption and aimed to remove potential opposition to Prince Mohammed as he pushes an ambitious and controversial reform agenda.