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Saudi court sentences 18 to jail for corruption, bribery

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A Saudi court has sentenced 18 people to jail after they were convicted of corruption and bribery, a statement said on Tuesday, the latest in the kingdom’s anti-corruption campaign.

In recent years, Saudi Arabia has vowed to crackdown on corruption, as the kingdom’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman seeks to diversify the country’s economy and make it less dependent on oil.

A statement published by the Saudi Press Agency said the 18 received sentences adding up to a total of up to 55 years.

They also have to pay fines worth four million riyals (around 1 million dollars).

One of the defendants was described as an official who held an executive-level position.

He “took money and benefits as bribes from a businessman” and used his position to allow violations and fraud. He was sentenced to 16 years in prison.

Officials working with him were also sentenced to jail.

A businessman was also convicted for bribing civil servants and was jailed for 16 years.

Some employees at his business were also found guilty and received prison sentences.

On Friday, prosecutors said five officials received sentences adding up to a total of up to 32 years over bribery, wasting public funds, misusing power and illicit wealth charges.

The crown prince was seen as spearheading what Riyadh described as an anti-corruption drive in 2017-18, when dozens of high-profile royals and former state officials were detained for three months.

Many reached financial settlements with the authorities, which the kingdom said were worth more than 100 billion dollars.

Edited by Fatima Sule/Felix Ajide

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