(Newswire.net — November 7, 2017) — Only days after a new anti-corruption committee chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was created, arrests were made at the highest political and financial layers of Saudi Arabia.
At least 11 Saudi princes and four incumbent ministers of the Saudi government were arrested and charged with corruption, Al-Arabiya reported. Among the accused highly ranked officials of the Saudi government are the minister of the National Guard and the minister of economy. The owner of the television network MBC was also arrested.
One day after the kingdom’s young crown prince ordered a shocking purge of princes and some of the country’s most influential leaders, a Saudi prince Mansour Bin Muqrin son of former crown prince Muqrin al-Saud, died in a helicopter crash near the Yemeni border.
Hours after the death of Mansour Bin Muqrin, media reported the death of yet another Saudi prince. Prince Aziz (44) the youngest son of King Fahd, was reportedly arrested on Sunday. The circumstances of his death remains unknown.
The committee, created Saturday by royal decree of King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Sau, is exempted from “laws, regulations, instructions, orders and decision,” according to reports. The main role of the committee is “identifying offenses, crimes, persons and entities” complicit in corruption.
Beside its ‘untouchable’ nature, the committee was given broad authorization and power to impose measures such as asset freezes, travel bans and arrests.
“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, in order to illicitly accrue money,” the Saudi King said in a statement, explaining the needs for committee.
The committee would probe the alleged money laundering, misuse of power and public funds such as those raised in 2009 to help restore devastating consequences of the flood that killed 120 people in Jeddah. The committee is also focusing on illicit business operations.
The anti-corruption committee is also questioning the minister of health regarding an outbreak of the so-called Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus in Saudi Arabia in 2014 that killed nearly 300 people.
Crown Prince Salman is known for his reform-minded views and endeavor to modernize the ultra-conservative but incredibly rich Saudi Arabia. He persuaded his father, the king, to review some restrictions and allow greater liberties for women who are now permitted to use state services without male guardians.
The Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman promotes so called “moderate Islam,” a not so strict interpretation of Muslim religion. He also promised to eradicate extremist beliefs inside the country.