Al Arabiya TV reports that Saudi Arabia’s Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (aka the Commission or the Hai’a) finds itself facing allegations of corruption and financial misdealings. According to the report, SR 2 million is alleged to have been overpaid for a building rental and SR 800,000 given as a loan to a religious police official to start a program that was actually under the remit of another Saudi organization. The Commission’s spokesman denies the allegations and threatens reprisals against those “spread wrongful reports about it.”
This will be an interesting case to follow, if the media does indeed follow it.
Saudi Arabia’s religious police, officially known as the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, has come under criticism for alleged financial and administrative corruption.
A source in the Saudi National Anti-Corruption Commission (known as “Nazaha”) said the commission has received a complaint with alleged violations and that an investigation would be launched, the Saudi daily newspaper Okaz reported on Tuesday.
One of the violations included a contract with a real estate firm to rent a tower on Riyadh’s King Fahd Road.
The contract was allegedly for SR17.8 million ($4.53 million), despite that the same building was previously approved for rental to the Ministry of Housing for SR15 million ($4 million).
The complaint also included a claim that an official from the commission received a SR800,000 ($213,000) loan, of which SR400,000 ($106,000) was allocated for the opening of an “intellectual security” training program.
The report noted that it was the Imam Muhammad Bin Saud Islamic University that is in charge of organizing this program not the commission official who received the loan. Besides, there is no clear mechanism to oversee how the funds are spent, according to the report.