JEDDAH: Sources close to the Bureau of Investigation and Prosecution (BIP) have said that investigations against 12 persons, some of them senior local officials, for money laundering related to the November 2009 Jeddah floods have been suspended until they have faced trial for bribery.
The sources said that the BIP has returned their files to the Investigation Committee pending judgment on accusations of obtaining money through bribes for the transfer of land and house ownership.
According to the sources, a former mayor of Jeddah and a former notary public are among the 12 accused, along with businessmen, construction developers and former staff from both government and private sector bodies.
“The BIP has asked the Investigation Committee to transfer the files first to the Control and Monitoring Board in order to look into the bribery charges, considering them the basis of the accusations of money laundering,” the sources said.
“Once they have been tried for bribery, then the investigation into money laundering will begin immediately.”
That will include, the sources said, inquiries into the finances and real estate properties of the accused. “Everyone connected to the laundering of money will be questioned,” they said.
The sources also said that a number of government bodies have worked with the BIP and the Control and Monitoring Board to produce a new report on government performance and private sector contracts in the light of the second flood incident in Jeddah last month.
“The report is expected to go to higher authorities and reveal failures in performance on the part of bodies providing services, including the Jeddah Mayoralty and the Ministry of Water and Electricity,” they said. Failures observed include poor coordination in the some project works, as well as violations by the contractor and sub-contractor which have held up the completion of works.”
They added that some government departments have not been diligent enough in ensuring that works were carried out properly and complied with contract conditions. “There have been failures to expose these issues and cancel contracts of the firms involved,” the source said. “There have also been delays in contract works and failures to meet set standards.”
– Okaz/Saudi Gazette