Saudi crown prince says reforms aimed at 'cancer' of corruption

Kingdom shake-up aimed at installing 'high energy' people who could achieve modernisation targets

Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman gestures during the graduation ceremony of the 93rd batch of the cadets of King Faisal Air Academy, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, February 21, 2018. Bandar Algaloud/Courtesy of Saudi Royal Court/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY.
Powered by automated translation

Saudi Arabia's crown prince says the anti-corruption drive launched late last year is the "shock therapy" his kingdom needs to root out widespread graft.

"You have a body that has cancer everywhere, the cancer of corruption. You need to have chemo, the shock of chemo, or the cancer will eat the body," Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told the Washington Post in an interview published Tuesday night.

"The kingdom couldn't meet budget targets without halting this looting," he said.

In the latest move for change, a dramatic shake-up announced in royal decrees late on Monday saw top brass, including the chief of staff and heads of the ground forces and air defence replaced and a broad defence reform plan approved. The government bureaucracy is also to be overhauled.

The crown prince said the shake-up announced by his aging father, King Salman, was aimed at installing "high energy" people who could achieve modernisation targets. "We want to work with believers," the crown prince told the US paper.

The changing of the military guard came just a month shy of the third anniversary of the launch of a Saudi-led coalition to fight Iran-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Prince Mohammed has been the main driver of the kingdom's more aggressive regional push since he took over as defence minister in early 2015.


Read more:

Exclusive: Saudi Crown Prince to visit Washington on March 19

Saudi King appoints woman as deputy Labour minister