Prince Salman Receives the President of the Anti-corruption National Commission

Saudi Arabia’s newly created anti-corruption body has vowed to target “big heads” in its campaign to stamp out mismanagement and other malpractices at public establishments, saying there would be no exception.

The National Authority for Combating Corruption (NACC) Chairman, Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Sharif, dismissed local reports that its role would be restricted to minor corruption cases and complement that of the country’s General Auditing Bureau (GAB). Probes will be carried out in line with instructions issued by King Abdullah.He also stressed that school curricula must include lessons advocating sincerity and protection of public funds.

The NACC was created by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia last year to fight financial abuses at government offices following reports of a surge in corruption cases in the largest Arab economy and the world’s oil basin.

In a recent report, the GAB said public institutions are suffering from low performance because of bribes and other corrupt practices. This is putting pressure on the Gulf country’s coffers. It said the flood disaster that hit the Western Red Sea port of Jeddah in 2010 exposed several such flaws in government departments.

Although it was until recently a taboo subject, corruption is now debated in public in Saudi Arabia and other Gulf oil producers as part of ongoing economic reforms and a desire for social openness. Most regional nations have started to debate such issues in parliament and there have been several cases of interrogation of senior officials.