By Courtney Trenwith
The kingdom’s anti-corruption watchdog says the officials forced real estate owners to pay bribes, forge documents to approve development plans
A Saudi municipality official who allegedly accepted SR6.3 million ($1.7m) in real estate bribes has been arrested, local media said.
Several other employees at the Eastern Province Municipality also have been arrested and suspended for bribery, forgery and manipulating documents, the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Nazaha) revealed on Tuesday.
The senior official is accused of receiving the bribes in return for approving property development applications. He also allegedly coerced some real estate owners to make him a shareholder in their projects in return for favourable treatment by municipality authorities.
Nazaha said several people not employed by the municipality, including an employee at an independent real estate office, had helped conceal the crimes and coerce land owners to provide cheques in their names that were deposited into eight bank accounts.
All of the municipality employees have been suspended.