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Anti-corruption purge in Saudi was long overdue

Filed on November 5, 2017 | Last updated on November 5, 2017 at 06.33 pm

Saudi nationals have long complained of rampant corruption and squandering of public funds.

By sacking at least 11 princes and dozens of former ministers on the grounds of corruption, Saudi Arabia has shown that it is rightly on the path to progressive reforms. The fact that the ousted high-ranking officials include Prince Miteb bin Abdullah who headed the National Guard  - a powerful force tasked with protecting the ruling Al Saud family and the holy sites in Makkah and Madeena - and billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, only enhances Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's stature. He has not wasted much time since he took office as crown prince a little over four months ago. And now, as the head of the newly formed anti-corruption committee, he has taken the daring decision to purge the society of the corrupt disregarding their clout and influence, which only magnifies the faith in his leadership and his controversial, yet ambitious, reform agenda.

In complete support of the crown prince's efforts and efficiency in functioning, the Custodian of the Two Holy Shrines, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, has bestowed on the committee the right to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions, freeze bank accounts, trace funds, prevent transfer of funds or liquidation of assets, and take precautionary measure until the cases reach the judiciary. The statement issued by clerics saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption further provides religious backing for the move. The anti-corruption drive augurs well for the region where Saudi Arabia plays a major role.

Saudi nationals have long complained of rampant corruption and squandering of public funds. This dismissal is an endeavour by the 32-year-old crown prince to create a corruption-free society, at every strata, and he has rightfully begun from the top. His aim is to attract greater local and international investments by improving the country's reputation as a place to do business. This, again, is part of a larger effort to diversify the economy and wean it from its dependence on oil revenues.





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