TEL AVIV — Saudi Arabia’s central bank and other banks have frozen the accounts of 1,200 companies and officials as a widespread crackdown against corruption at the highest levels of the kingdom’s leadership continues, reported the Saudi paper Okaz.
According to the report, the number of frozen accounts is expected to rise as a royal decree has seen the arrest and legal proceedings against officials that include princes of the royal family who remained unnamed by Okaz. Additional steps taken against these individuals reportedly include the freezing of funds and property and their return to state coffers.
Reuters confirmed the move to freeze accounts, citing Saudi bankers and lawyers involved in the case.
Meanwhile, Saudi media continues to cover the wave of arrests and the fight against corruption in a manner that is sympathetic to the government’s efforts.
In another item, Okaz reported that the royal decree to fight corruption puts the kingdom at the forefront of countries fighting corruption. The newspaper quoted members of the Shura, Saudi Arabia’s parliament, as saying that the kingdom is determined to uproot corruption without regard to the identities of those involved.
Colonel Ali al-Tamimi, a member of the Shura’s security council, told the newspaper, “The royal decree to fight corruption creates an environment that’s much healthier in terms of proper administration since the corruption is putting the country in internal and external debt.”
Another member of the council, Ahmad al-Zilii, expressed his confidence that the committee to fight corruption will uproot corruption in the kingdom, “corruption that has consumed state resources for a long time.”
According to al-Zilii, it’s now becoming clear why certain projects were never finished, like all the projects to reclaim the desert and maintain highways as well the reasons behind the illegal confiscation of private lands. Parliament members noted that the fight against corruption is critical to realizing the Vision 2030 project conceived by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, meant to diversify industry and sources of income for the Saudi economy, which relies mainly on oil revenues.
The fight against corruption was one of the two main issues dealt with by senior columnists in the kingdom alongside the escalating conflict with Iran. Local media also extensively covered foreign and international coverage of the developments in Saudi Arabia. The popular site Sabq wrote, “The American media is revealing the identities of those arrested and their numbers … and talk about a nationally-supported purge.”
The site also quoted relevant comments from American experts and officials in American media regarding developments in the kingdom.