Saudi minister says prosecutor's move is part of wider reforms

Decree aims to guarantee the agency’s neutrality and shield it from outside influence

Saudi Arabia’s decision to put the public prosecutor’s office under the king’s oversight is part of a bigger plan to reform the country’s institutions, according to a cabinet minister.

King Salman decided on June 17 to change the name of the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution to Public Prosecution. He also moved it from under the control of the Interior Ministry, which is headed by Crown Prince Muhammad bin Nayef.

The decree aims to guarantee the agency’s neutrality and shield it from outside influence, state media reported.

“This is part of the reform program we’ve started two years ago,” Mohammed Alsheikh, a minister of state and a member of the cabinet, said in a phone interview on Sunday. “It’s bureaucratic reform, institutional reform.”

King Salman, who ascended to the throne of the world’s biggest oil exporter in 2015, has abolished multiple government agencies. His administration created two powerful councils to oversee economic and security affairs. His son, Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, is responsible for steering efforts to reduce the economy’s reliance on oil.

Reform measures “are being done gradually,” Alsheikh said. “We can’t do everything at once.”

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