Riyadh widens purge by detaining 298 officials: report

TEHRAN, Mar. 16 (MNA) – Saudi Arabia announced on Sunday that 298 officials have been detained on charges involving bribery and exploiting public office which seems to be the continuation of arresting members of the royal family during the past weeks.

Middle East Eye reported earlier this month that the widening crackdown now underway by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS) is his boldest act yet in his quest for power. As many as 20 princes have been arrested for allegedly being part of a coup to overthrow MBS, who is now appears poised to become king.

At least two members of the Bayaa, or Allegiance Council, which determines the succession to the Saudi throne, have been arrested as part of the purge, according to the report. 

An anti-corruption body known as Nazaha tweeted on Sunday that it had arrested and would indict 298 people on crimes including bribery, embezzlement, and abuse of power involving a total of 379 million riyals ($101m).

Among those implicated were eight defence ministry officers suspected of bribery and money laundering in relation to government contracts during the years 2005-2015, and 29 interior ministry officials in the Eastern Province, including three colonels, a major general and a brigadier general.

Two judges were also detained for receiving bribes, along with nine officials accused of corruption at Riyadh's Al Maarefa University, which resulted in severe damage to a building and caused deaths and injuries, Nazaha said.

The agency provided no names and few other details about the cases.

MNA/PR

News Code 156766

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