Saudi Arabia launched on Saturday a strict campaign to fight corruption involving princes and ministers, while Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz issued a royal decree to form a supreme committee, chaired by the Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, to identify offenses, crimes, persons and entities involved in cases of public corruption.
In another order, the King appointed Prince Khalid bin Abdulaziz bin Mohammed bin Ayyaf Al Muqren as Minister of the National Guard, replacing Prince Miteb bin Abdullah bin Abdulaziz, who was sacked.
Mohammed bin Mazyad Al-Tuwaijri was also appointed Minister of Economy and Planning replacing Adel bin Mohammed Faqih, who will be relieved of his post.
The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques also issued an order to terminate the tenure of Admiral Abdullah bin Sultan bin Mohammed Al-Sultan, the Commander of the Naval Forces, who will retire.
Vice Admiral Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ghifaili will be promoted to the rank of admiral and be appointed as Commander of the Naval Forces.
In a statement announced in Riyadh on Saturday night, the King said that “in view of what we have noticed of exploitation by some of the weak souls who have put their own interests above the public interest, we decided to form a supreme committee chaired by the Crown Prince and the membership of Chairman of the Monitoring and Investigation Commission, Chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Authority, Chief of the General Audit Bureau, Attorney General and Head of State Security.”
The committee is tasked with investigation, issuance of arrest warrants, travel bans, disclosure and freezing of accounts and portfolios, tracking of funds, assets and preventing their remittance or transfer by persons and entities, whatever they might be.
It also has the right to take any precautionary measures it sees fit, until they are referred to the investigating authorities or judicial bodies.
According to the Royal order, the committee may also seek the assistance of those it deems necessary and, upon completion of its duties, the committee will submit to the King a detailed report on its findings and what it has taken in this regard.
Later, Al Arabiya television quoted sources as saying that as of Saturday, 11 princes, four sitting ministers and “dozens” of former ministers have been arrested on orders from the new anti-corruption committee.
It said the committee announced that it is reopening the file of the 2009 Jeddah floods and investigating the case of the outbreak of the Corona virus, which is also known as the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus.