Saudi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman © Bandar Al-Jaloud / AFP
It's kicking off in Saudi Arabia. The long awaited political purge we predicted when religious maniac Mohammed bin Salman (Mad Mo.) was named as Crown Prince in June this year and the chosen successor to ailing octogenarian Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
A story from Al Arabiya news agency, citing sources in government, reports Mad Mo has ordered the arrest of at least 11 Saudi princes and four incumbent ministers of the Saudi government. Among those detained are the minister of the National Guard and the minister of economy.
A new anti-corruption committee created and chaired by the Crown Prince net late on Saturday by royal decree of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.
The decree appoints the crown prince leader of the committee, and grants it broad powers to fight corruption. The committee is exempted from "laws, regulations, instructions, orders and decision" while performing its wide range of duties, namely "identifying offenses, crimes, persons and entities" complicit in corruption, and gives it the power to impose punitive measures on those foung guilty (in Saudi Arabia being found guilty is the same as being accused). It also has powers to freeze assets, impose travel bans and arrest people suspected of having faces Mad Mo does not like.
The committee made its first arrests hours after it was created, detaining the 11 princes and four current ministers as well as "tens" of ex-ministers of the Saudi government in connection with newly opened corruption probes, Al-Arabiya reported.
Minister of the National Guard Prince Miteb bin Abdullah and Economy Minister Adel Fakeih are among those arrested, Al Arabiya cited a senior Saudi official as saying, on condition of anonymity. Alwaleed al-Ibrahim, owner of television network MBC, was also detained.
Dozens of former officials were arrested by the Crown Prince's committee, including a former governor of Riyadh province, former finance minister, and former chief of the Royal Court.
The committee announced it will be relaunching the investigation into the floods that killed over 120 people and caused millions of dollars worth of property damage in the city of Jeddah in 2009. In wake of the previous investigation, concluded in December 2014, 45 people were found guilty of corruption, including senior officials, on charges of bribery, misuse of power and public funds, money laundering and illicit business operations.
Another high-profile case to be revisied 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 resignation of the country’s health minister.
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