Saudi military commander sacked over alleged corruption charges

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RIYADH: Saudi Arabia sacked a top Saudi military commander and his son on Monday as Riyadh continues its probe against anti-corruption.

Joint forces commander Prince Fahad bin Turki — a senior royal family member — and Abdulaziz bin Fahad, the deputy emir of northern Al-Jouf region, were fired and placed under investigation for corruption, according to a report.

Several other officers and civilian employees of the defence ministry were also being probed for corruption, it added, citing a royal decree from King Salman.

Prince Fahad served as the commander of the Saudi-led military coalition fighting Iran-linked Houthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen.

He was replaced by Mutlaq bin Salim, the deputy chief of staff, on the recommendation of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, state media said.

The government decision to sack the commander was a “very public signal against corruption in the military”, said Saudi author and analyst Ali Shihabi.

The announcement marks the latest government crackdown on what officials describe as endemic corruption in the kingdom.

Senior Saudi security commanders were among a string of officials sacked last month over graft allegations at tourism projects.

Military and judicial officials were among those arrested over allegations of bribery and embezzlement amounting to a total of 379 million riyals ($101 million), according to the state’s anti-corruption watchdog.

The watchdog said the arrests came after it criminally investigated 674 state employees, but it neither named any of the suspects nor stated when its probe took place.

A campaign against graft launched in 2017 saw hundreds of elite princes, ministers and businessmen detained at the luxury Ritz-Carlton hotel in the capital Riyadh.

Authorities said they recovered more than 400 billion Saudi riyals ($107 billion).

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