Khalid Al Harbi fired as Saudi Public Security Chief over corruption

Eighteen others also implicated in charges as national anti-corruption body launches probe

Saudi Arabia's King Salman attends a summit between Arab league and European Union member states, in the Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, February 24, 2019. REUTERS/Mohamed Abd El Ghany

Saudi Arabia's King Salman has fired the head of the kingdom's Public Security Directorate over alleged corruption, embezzlement and bribery.

An official announcement issued on Tuesday night denounced First Lieutenant-General Khalid bin Qaraar Al Harbi for corruption for using public funds for personal use, state media reported.

The National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) launched an investigation into the case that implicated 18 people as well as the head of public security.

The Public Security Directorate is a body under the Interior Ministry that oversees the police, traffic officers, diplomatic security, Hajj and Umrah safety and other matters of security in the kingdom.

The royal decree stated that Lt Gen Al Harbi was also accused of other crimes, including bribery, abuse of power and forgery, along with 18 people from the public and private sectors.

Lt Gen Al Harbi “committed many transgressions and violations with the aim of using public money for personal use and a number of crimes, including forgery, bribery and abuse of influence”, the state-run Saudi Press Agency reported.

He was dismissed from his role and will retire from public service while the probe seeks “further investigation” over the alleged crimes.

The arrests and public denunciation of a high-ranking official in the kingdom is a part of efforts to “combat corruption and implement transparency across all sectors and ranks as part of Vision 2030”, a security official told The National.

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has been leading an anti-corruption drive since 2017 that saw dozens of high-profile public figures, royal family members and ministers detained. Anti-corruption bodies have also investigated senior civil servants including judges, security officers and senior officials.

“No one who has been involved in a corruption case, whether he is an emir, a minister, or whatever, will be spared,” the crown prince said earlier this year. “Everyone who has sufficient evidence [against them] will be held accountable.”

The popular quote has been trending on social media channels in Saudi Arabia since the news of Lt Gen Al Harbi's dismissal.

Earlier on Tuesday, Nazaha announced it had been working on 20 new cases over the past few weeks that involve former high-ranking officials at the National Guard and Interior Ministry.

Updated: September 8th 2021, 8:42 AM
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