Cover-up cases jump four-fold in four years


  • Commerce Ministry inspect over 21,600 firms
  • 1,195 violations referred to Public Prosecution

RIYADH — The Ministry of Commerce and Investment has announced that the violations related to Anti-Commercial Concealment Law have increased by 412 percent during the last four years.

The ministry’s inspection tours resulted in referring 1,195 cover-up cases to the Public Prosecution in 1439H for taking the necessary legal measures, including referring the cases to the judicial authorities.

This compares with 871 cover-up cases referred by the ministry to the Public Prosecution in 1438H, while in 1437H, there were 450 cases, and 290 cases in 1436H.

The ministry’s inspection teams had carried out 21,692 inspection and control visits in several commercial sectors during 1439H. This was to verify the regular work of the commercial establishments and to contain any violations related to Anti-Commercial Concealment Law in all regions of the Kingdom. The ministry has been endeavoring to combat the commercial concealment in all trade sectors by following up the investigations and hearings related to cover-up cases currently under investigation or trial.

Meanwhile, 251 cover-up cases have been referred to the competent authorities in the Ministry of Labor and Social Development and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency for imposing legal penalties on the violators.

The inspection visits revealed many trade activities involved in violating the Anti-Commercial Concealment Law, the majority of them in contracting and retail sectors.

According to the rules and regulations relevant to Anti-Commercial Concealment Law, a non-Saudi shall not in any case exercise or invest in any trade activity he is not licensed or allowed to practice. Any citizen who enables a non-Saudi to invest or practice any trade activity, whether by using the citizen’s name, or his license, or his C.R., or in any other way, will be considered a concealer.

The Ministry of Commerce and Investment is endeavoring to eradicate violations related to commercial activity in the country, including cover-up operations, by imposing strict legal penalties that include two-year imprisonment, a fine of SR1 million for each offender, deportation of non-Saudi offenders from the Kingdom, defaming the names of violators in the local newspapers at their own expense, annulment of the C.R. and preventing the offender from practicing the same trade activity again.