By Beatrice Thomas
Unauthorised works in flood-prone areas ultimately resulted in more than 100 deaths - report
Twenty foreigners have appeared in a Saudi court for bribing government officials to fast-track illegal works in flood-prone areas – ultimately resulting in the deaths of more than 100 people, it was reported.
The 20, some of whom are Europeans, face charges of building properties in flood-prone areas in contravention of previous royal decrees banning development near valley zones, Arab News reported.
They are also accused of allowing citizens to build houses in an area east of Jeddah that was located at a water stream.
A Civil Defense report said their actions led to more than 100 deaths and injuries to 350 people.
The defendants, who deny the charges, are said to have offered money and gifts to government officials, with some expats allegedly working on orders from their company bosses while others provided the brides independently.
They also gave officials mobile phones and computers as gifts, it was alleged.
Sources said the expats worked at a contracting company that had already won several government projects via bids, Arab News reported.
The defendants face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty, though prosecutors have asked for longer jail terms to serve as a deterrent.
The prosecution has also pressed charges against a former deputy undersecretary and the former head of a roadwork department, both of whom allegedly accepted high-end office furniture from an Arab architect.
The architect is also facing bribery charges.
The title of this article could've been rephrased as "Saudi officials accused of accepting bribes to fast-track illegal works".
There really wasn't any need to specifically point out "Expats" as I'm pretty sure Expats weren't the only ones to have bribed these officials - who in all their naivety thought it was only a 'hadiya' from a brother and not a bribe!