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Eight Saudi health officials busted for taking kick-backs

July 30, 2008 2:03 by

health officials, bribes, saudi, parties, $5,000, 10 yearsEight health officials in Saudi’s Madinah province have been accused of taking bribes from 13 Saudi and foreign businessmen. The bribes were taken for granting licenses to open new pharmacies or transferring ownership to new investors, says Arab News.

The eight, who face corruption charges by the Control & Investigation Board (CIB), are the director of medical licenses department, the director of health affairs, the director of administrative and financial affairs, two employees at the medical licenses department, a primary health care employee, a public relations manager and a retired health official.

The CIB has handed over the case to the Administrative Court after charging the eight with bribery and corruption.

Under Saudi law, government officials convicted of accepting bribes could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined SR500,000 ($133,000).

The eight officials allegedly received varying amounts of money from 13 investors and their agents. The officials demanded bribes in cash and other favors from clients with different nationalities including four Saudis, two Egyptians, a Yemeni and a Pakistani who owned pharmacies.

During investigations by CIB officials, the director of the medical licenses department confessed receiving bribes; the pharmacy owners acknowledge paying bribes in cash and paying his bills.

Investigators trapped the main suspect by paying him marked currencies through an agent at a café. They later questioned 20 health officials and investors.

The paper said one defendant was accused of demanding gifts valued at SR20,000 ($5,300) and, bizarrely, payment for an obituary advertisement. He also asked pharmacy owners to pay for the expenses he incurred in holding parties and staying in hotels.

Defendant number two, according to CIB charges, received bribes from three pharmacy owners

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