RIYADH – Authorities of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia detained 298 public officials in a new alleged “anti-corruption push” amid reports that the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman is seeking to get rid of potential rivals to the Saudi Wahhabi throne.
A Saudi “anti-corruption body” known as Nazaha announced on Sunday that it had arrested 298 government officials for crimes such as “bribery, embezzlement and abuse of power” involving a total of 379 million riyals ($101 million), PressTV reported.
Among the detained officials, eight defense minister officers are suspected of money laundering in relation to government contracts during the years 2005-2015. Two judges are also amongst the list for allegedly receiving bribes. Another 29 interior ministry officials in the Eastern Province have also been detained, including three colonels, a major general and a brigadier general.
The body provided no names and little additional details about the cases. Back in November 2017, dozens of high-ranking Saudi officials and figures were detained and placed in the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel under tight security over similar corruption charges.
The detentions had been ordered by Saudi Arabia’s so-called Anti-Corruption Committee headed by bin Salman in a crackdown widely believed to be aimed at consolidating his power. The new wave of arrests comes after authorities announced that they also seek to crack down on corruption by ordinary government employees.
A number of high-ranking Saudi royals, however, have also been arrested in the past week. The arrests, which include rival candidates for the Saudi throne, have prompted speculation that the Saudi crown prince may be seeking to further tighten his grip on power ahead of a probable ascension in the near future.