20 foreigners face jail for bribery

Jeddah Justice

Twenty foreigners of different nationalities, including Europeans, have appeared in court for bribing government officials to speed up paperwork for starting construction in flood-prone areas, sources told local media.

They face charges of building properties in flood-prone areas in contravention of previous royal decrees, which state that citizens cannot build property near valleys. They allowed other citizens to build houses in an area east of Jeddah that is located at a water stream.

Their greed led to the death of more than 100 people and injuries to 350, the prosecution said, quoting a Civil Defense report.

The defendants face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty.

The prosecution, however, has asked for even longer jail terms to serve as a deterrent for businessmen and government officials.

“The names of several foreign workers were included in a list of charges submitted by the general committee for prosecution at the Control and Investigation Board to courts in Makkah,” said the source.

Defendants are said to have offered money and gifts to government officials working in several departments to speed up paperwork for their firms.

Some of these expats gave money on their own accord or through orders made by the presidents of their companies. They also gave officials mobile phones and computers as gifts.
Sources said these expatriates work at a contracting company that already won several government projects via bids.

The prosecution has also pressed charges against a former deputy undersecretary and the former head of a roadwork department, both of whom accepted high-end office furniture from an Arab architecture who works at a firm in the Kingdom and is prosecuted for bribery himself.

Two hearings have already been held, where the defendants denied all charges.

The prosecution has, however, stuck with the charges and asked for punitive measures stipulated in numerous articles against bribery in a royal decree issued in 1992 and an older decree issued in 1957.





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