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In dramatic shake up, Saudi king fires slew of princes from government posts

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman attends the Future Investment Initiative (FII) conference in Riyadh, on October 24, 2017
FAYEZ NURELDINE (AFP)
King Salman blasted those who 'abused public money without fear of religion, conscience, morals or patriotism'

Saudi Arabia's King Salman on Saturday reportedly relieved a string of senior government ministers from their posts, in what is being billed as a dramatic anti-corruption purge driven by the kingdom's newly minted crown prince. 

State-linked channel Al Arabiya, citing sources, reported that some ten princes had been fired by an anti-corruption committee chaired by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and established on Saturday evening local time. 

In a royal decree carried by the official Saudi Press Agency, King Salman condemned those who "abused public money without fear of religion, conscience, morals or patriotism, taking advantage of their influence and authority over public money, abuse and misappropriation in order to hide their shameful acts."

Among those fired include Minister of the National Guard Moteib Bin Abdullah Minister of Economy and Planning, Adel al-Faqieh, with their replacements swiftly announced. Navy chief Admiral Abdullah Al-Sultan has also been purged. 

There were unconfirmed reports that high-profile billionaire Al-Waleed bin Talal was placed under arrest, however this was not confirmed by officials or state-linked media. 

In a separate statement reported by the SPA, the kingdom's information minister Dr Awad bin Saleh Al-Awad said the anti-graft campaign was being waged in order "to protect public money and eradicate corruption, which is considered harmful to the economy and society."

He added that the "fight against corruption comes within the framework of comprehensive reform witnessed by our country, in all fields, to enhance the kingdom's position and increase the efficiency and quality of work."

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Sultan, who was appointed in June, has heavily pushed an economic liberalization push known as Vision 2030, an attempt to modernize the country's oil-dependent economy. 

He has been condemned by rights groups in September for rounding up an estimated thirty clerics, activists, journalists, commentators and artists in a bid to hush dissident voices in the absolute monarchy. 

More to come. 

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