Saudi Arabia amends anti-corruption limitations to widen controversial crackdown
Saudi Arabia removed a 60-day statute of limitations for investigating allegations against current or former ministers on Tuesday, as it looks to widen its controversial anti-corruption sweep.
"This amendment will enable the (National Anti-Corruption) Commission and competent authorities to carry out their tasks effectively and efficiently to protect public money, the state’s interests and the national economy from corruption," Khalid bin Abdul Mohsen al-Muhaisen, head of the commision, was quoted by the official Saudi Press Agency as saying.
Last November, Saudi Arabia rounded up dozens of prominent public figures, including businessmen and powerful royals, as part of its anti-corruption sweep.
The arrests, made on the orders of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, were slammed by critics as part of the young prince's plan to consolidate his position in the oil-rich kingdom.
Most of those who were detained have since been released, with some reaching multi-billion dollar settlements with the government to secure their freedom.
The remaining 56 detainees who did not reach financial settlements could face trial.
The clampdown has coincided with Prince Mohammed's ambitious economic overhaul and loosening of conservative social restrictions, including the country's controversial ban on women driving.