King Salman of Saudi Arabia has issued a royal decree to set up a specialised anti-corruption department which will handle the prime task of investigating the corruption cases. The announcement is an outcome of the King’s concern for tackling corruption primarily to maintaining public money and fostering integrity in public employment.
The decision is highly relevant as the kingdom had got more than $100 bn in anti-corruption settlements out of which a big portion comprised of assets like real estate, commercial assets, cash etc. The anti-corruption crackdown by Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman had got many members of royal family, ministers, top businessmen arrested. Main allegations against the ones who have been taken into custody are money-laundering, bribery and extortion. Some of the high profile detainees have been released after they agreed to certain demands.
The Crown Prince is said to harbour highly ambitious plans for his country. The crackdown has far-reaching consequences and has helped MBS to consolidate power by creation of a popular support base in the kingdom in addition to retrieving money which has been a prime concern especially after the fall in oil prices. The money is thus needed to fund the economic agenda of the Crown Prince. The Saudi Vision 2030 seeks to build itself by considerably scaling down the Saudi dependence on oil by economic diversification and development of public sector like education, infrastructure, health, tourism etc. MBS has already declared his plans for forming a new city which will operate completely on alternative sources of energy. In addition, he is also driving crucial social reforms for women by allowing women to drive and let them in the movie theatres. MBS has alongside been changing his crucial advisors to bring his vision into reality.