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Corruption unearthed in granting of land meant for the poor.

Summary: JEDDAH: An investigation committee has recently unearthed gross corruption in the granting of land that was meant for the poor in the governorate of Badr, which is located within the Madinah Province.

By MUHAMMAD AL-SULAMI | ARAB NEWS

The committee, which was set up by the provincial governorate of Madinah, discovered that a number of plots that had been earmarked for the government's land grant program had gone to municipal officials and their relatives.

The investigators also discovered an eight-year-old list of eligible candidates for land which contained 1,767 names and had been prepared in 2003. There was also another list of 800 other people who were selected for land grants in previous years. All of these people had applied for government lands between 1997 and 2002.

According to the investigation committee, municipality officials deprived applicants of land and failed to hold proper draws. Instead, they published a notification saying, "The chairman of the Badr municipality urges interested applicants for plots to contact the land grant committee to participate in a draw which will be held during normal working hours." The notice did not mention the day when the draw was to be held.

The investigators discovered that plots in prime locations had been granted to the wife of the chairman of the land grant committee and his nephew. The investigators also discovered that many poor people who won draws for land were forced by the officials to sell their lands to officials for SR25,000. It was also found that 16 plots of land were given to officials and their relatives in the Badr municipality.

Land was given to the chairman of the land grant committee; the undersecretary and secretary of the municipal chairman; the supervisor of the maintenance projects; the chairman of the municipality's projects department; a member of the land grant committee and his father; the nephew of the land grant committee's chairman, his brother, brothers-in-law and son-in law; the brother of a municipal supervisor; the cousin of a municipal projects manager; the nephew of the former undersecretary at the Madinah municipality; and the son of the major contractor at the Badr municipality. In light of the revelations, there are now calls on the provincial governor to order the prosecution of officials involved in foul play, and the confiscation of land and its redistribution to the poor.

As part of efforts to root out corruption in government departments, the Interior ministry has urged members of the public to report any suspicious activities. Members of the public can telephone 980, fax 01 4420057 or e-mail 980@900moi.gov.sa.

Copyright: Arab News 2011 All rights reserved.

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Publication:Arab News (Jeddah, Saudi Arabia)
Date:Mar 6, 2011
Words:447
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