Resolution No.: 43
Dated: 01 / 02 / 1428 A.H.
19 / 02 / 2007 A.D.
The Council of Ministers, upon perusal of the case-file received from the Office of Presidency of the Council of Ministers of High Order No. 6487/MB dated 2/9/1427H, including Cable No. 16/10889/2U dated 19-20/2/1426H of HRH Minister of Interior, attached therewith minutes of the Ministerial Committee formed pursuant to High Order No. 7/B/5657 dated 9/5/1421H with regard to the Draft National Strategy for Maintaining Integrity and Combating Corruption;
Upon perusal of Minutes No. 175 dated 23/5/1424H, drafted at the Bureau of Experts;Upon review of Shura Council Resolution No. 4/3 dated 13/3/1425H; and Upon perusal of Recommendation No. 733 dated 27/11/1427H of the General Committee of the Council of Ministers;
Resolves as follows:
The National Strategy for Maintaining Integrity and Combating Corruption shall be approved as per the enclosed form.
Corruption is a multi-facetted phenomenon with different definitions, depending on how one looks at it. In the context of secular law, corruption is defined as a violation of any rules and controls imposed by law; any conduct that undermines public interest by betraying or disregarding it, whereby private interest prevails over public interest, shall be deemed a form of corruption, and so is any abuse of public office for the purpose of obtaining persoanl gains. In the context of Islamic Sharia, corruption is the antithesis of righteousness. God Almighty says: “Do not mischief on earth, after it has been set in order." (Al-A'raf; 56), and “Verily! God commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice. Verily, how excellent is the teaching which He (God) gives you! Truly, God is Ever All- Hearer, All-Seer." and “And when he turns away (from you “O Muhammad"), his effort in the land is to make mischief" therein and to destroy the crops and the cattle, and God likes not mischief".
In the Hadith of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) it was narrated by Muslim that the Prophet (PBUH) said “Whoever has been entrusted with the welfare of people and turns out to be running their affairs in deceit will not enter paradise". Imam Ahmed quoted Thawban as saying “The Prophet (PBUH) cursed the briber, the one who receives a bribe and the one who mediates between them".
Corruption as a phenomenon comprises several offenses such as bribery, profiting from authority, abuse of power and public office, illicit enrichment, manipulation, embezzlement, waste or abuse of public property, money laundering, fiddling of books, forgery, counterfeiting, commercial fraud, etc.
Regardless of the economic status or political system of a state, government experience shows that corruption is not linked to a particular political system but rather emerges when conditions become favorable. Corruption exists in various forms and levels in all political systems. It is an international phenomenon of concern to the international community.
Corruption is a complex phenomenon involving economic, social, cultural and political dimensions. Hence, it has multiple causes, such as inconsistency of laws, burden of social life and ineffective monitoring. Corruption has repercussions, most important of which is its negative impact on development, and thus diverting its objectives, squandering resources and potentials and thus misdirecting it, hindering its progress, and undermining the efficiency and competency of agencies entrusted with development – creating a state of anxiety and dissatisfaction.
Maintaining integrity and combating corruption require comprehensive reform programs with strong political backing and a special strategy for identifying the problem and treating its causes. This requires the cooperation of government agencies, the participation of society and its institutions, instilling and strengthening moral principles and values in the administration and society and benefiting from international experiences. Since maintaining integrity and combating all forms of corruption are deeply rooted in Sharia and international law, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, drawing its laws from the principles and provisions of Sharia, has paid due attention to maintaining integrity and cautioning against corruption and combating all its forms.
Therefore, the Kingdom is joining all efforts exerted by the international community to combat corruption, through concluding agreements, attending conferences and symposiums and promoting international cooperation. Consequently, this strategy was put in place to maintain integrity and combat corruption, as follows:
The National Strategy for Maintaining Integrity and Combating Corruption is based on the following foundations:
1 - Islam, as a creed, Sharia and a way of life, constitutes the essence of this strategy as to its foundations, objectives, means and mechanisms. It considers any act or deed that causes a public or private office to deviate from its set Sharia and legal course, which it was meant to serve, to be a form of corruption and an offense punishable in this life and in the hereafter.
2 - Maintaining integrity and combating corruption are best achieved when cooperation among the competent authorities in the Kingdom is maintained in a sustainable manner.
3 - Corruption impedes progress, development and investment.
4 - Corruption in some of its forms is linked to criminal activities, particularly organized transnational crimes.
5 - The emergence and spread of new concepts, forms and methods of corruption require continuous review and evaluation of policies, plans, regulations, procedures and programs set to combat this dangerous phenomenon.
6 - Success in maintaining integrity and combating corruption requires fostering international cooperation based on the principles of international law, conventions and treaties with the objective of building confidence and creating an environment conducive to better relations among countries.
The National Strategy for Maintaining Integrity and Combating Corruption aims to:
1 - Maintain integrity and combat all forms of corruption.
2 - Fortify, within the Saudi society, religious, moral and educational values against corruption.
3 - Direct citizens and residents to observe proper conduct and abide by the provisions of Sharia and law.
4 - Provide an environment conducive to success of development plans; particularly, economic and social plans.
5 - Contribute to efforts for strengthening, developing, and enhancing regional, Arab and international cooperation in the field of maintaining integrity and combating corruption.
6 - Achieve equality among all members of society.
To achieve the objectives of the National Strategy for Maintaining Integrity and Combating Corruption, the following means shall be applied:
1 - The problem of corruption in the Kingdom shall be identified through the following:
a) Establishing a national database for the purpose of maintaining integrity and combating corruption. Said database shall include all regulatory and administrative documents and a record of accurate information, data and statistics on the magnitude of the problem, its classification, types, causes, effects, priorities and prevalence across time, place and society.
b) Government agencies concerned, based on jurisdiction, shall prepare periodic statistics and reports on corruption, denoting its magnitude, causes, types, proposed solutions, drawbacks and obstacles that impede the application of laws and measures relating to maintaining integrity and combating corruption.
c) Supporting and conducting in-depth studies and research projects concerned with maintaining integrity and combating corruption.
d) Giving researchers access to available information and encouraging academic institutions and research centers to conduct further studies and research in the field.
e) Keeping a record of materials published in the media regarding the issue of maintaining integrity and combating corruption.
f) Following-up on developments in the field, at local and international levels.
2 - Government agencies concerned with maintaining integrity and combating corruption shall exercise their powers and apply relevant laws through the following:
a) Provide law enforcement agencies as well as monitoring, investigation and judiciary agencies with sufficient human and material resources, expertise, training, technology and modern scientific means to fulfill their duties in an efficient manner.
b) Review laws pertaining to administrative structures and procedures of agencies concerned with maintaining integrity and combating corruption to avoid overlapping and conflict of jurisdiction and grant such agencies sufficient administrative and financial independence.
c) Government agencies concerned, based on jurisdiction, shall conduct periodic review of anticorruption laws to identify difficulties encountered through application and review, provide proposals to the authorities on ways to overcome such difficulties and improve such laws and submit the same to the competent authorities for consideration and benefiting from new developments.
d) Develop and evaluate monitoring, administrative and financial systems to ensure their clarity, effectiveness and ease of implementation.
e) Minimize and simplify procedures and raise awareness thereof by posting them on conspicuous places to avoid unlawful exemptions.
f) Require officials to keep constant control and followup to ensure proper work procedures and compliance with laws.
g) Require that officials in executive departments with direct contact with the public be qualified and pleasant when dealing with the public, and direct department heads to give due attention to citizens' files and supervise their employees so as to avoid creating unnecessary obstacles.
h) Ensure that no preferential treatment be made regardless of the person's position or social status.
i) Enforce the accountability of every official regardless of position, in accordance with law.
j) Support the efforts of law enforcement agencies entrusted with combating corruption.
k) Utilize modern technologies and express communication means in contacts between the government authorities concerned.
l) Ensure clarity of directives relating to fees, dues and fines and payment thereof (including payment made through banks) and implement measures necessary to prevent loopholes that lead to corruption, in accordance with reviewed controls.
m) Decide promptly on corruption cases. When a final court judgment is rendered by the competent authority, the principle of compensation shall be applied for the benefit of those whose rights and interests have been infringed upon by corruption. Court judgments shall be published at the request of the attorney general and with the consent of the ruling judge.
n) Committees with judicial powers shall be consolidated into one judicial entity with full independence.
o) Emphasize cooperation to combat corruption without compromising the banking system confidentiality.
3 - Adopt and promote the principle of transparency within government agencies through the following:
a) Emphasize to government officials that transparency is an effective means for combating corruption and that adopting said principle as a practice and moral stance shall give government activities credibility and respect.
b) Simplify and raise awareness of administrative procedures, make them available to those interested and not resort to the principle of confidentiality, except in cases where sovereignty and national security are compromised.
c) Enact laws to protect public property.
d) Explain procurement contract procedures of government agencies, public corporations and joint stock companies, and allow the public, civil institutions and the media to access and criticize them.
e) Respect the right of the public and the media to disseminate information on issues relating to corruption.
4 - Involve civil society institutions in maintaining integrity and combating corruption, as follows:
a) Engage some civil society members in the proposed national committee for combating corruption.
b) Engage such institutions, as per their jurisdiction, in the study of corruption and allow them to provide opinions and suggestions to curb it.
c) Urge professional and academic associations, such as those of physicians, lawyers, engineers and accountants to express opinions regarding monitoring, financial and administrative laws and provide suggestions for development and modification of such laws.
d) Urge the Chambers of Commerce and Industry to devise plans and programs to raise the awareness of businessmen and merchants about the dangers, causes and effects of corruption and encourage them to express their views on financial and commercial laws.
5 - Educate the public and reinforce ethical conduct, through the following:
a) Promote religious consciousness that calls for maintaining integrity and combating corruption through various media channels, preachers, ulema, educational institutions …etc., and conduct national awareness campaigns against corruption.
b) Emphasize the role of family in upbringing children and building an Islamic society resistant to all forms of corruption.
c) Encourage general and higher education institutions to incorporate topics in their curriculum and conduct periodic educational programs that aim at raising awareness on maintaining honesty and integrity and combating corruption and dishonesty.
d) Encourage citizens and residents to cooperate with authorities concerned with combating corruption and report corruption offenses and perpetrators thereof.
e) Develop educational awareness programs in the field of maintaining integrity and combating corruption in public and private sectors.
6 - Improve family, employment and living conditions of citizens through the following:
a) Emphasize the need to raise family, employment and living conditions of citizens, particularly those of low income, and provide them with basic services.
b) Create more job opportunities (in public and private sectors) in line with the increasing number of population and graduates, and qualify them for the job market's needs.
c) Limit the recruitment of foreign workforce.
d) Improve the salaries of employees and workers, particularly those at the lower salary scale.
7-Promote Arab, regional and international cooperation through the following:
a) When concluding a treaty or an agreement, the principle of national sovereignty and noninterference in domestic affairs shall be taken into consideration. The Kingdom shall play an effective role in drafting such treaties and agreements. Level of compliance and transparency in developed and developing countries shall also be taken into consideration. Participants shall be carefully selected from among specialists.
b) Coordination among agencies participating in conferences on combating corruption, proper preparation for such participation, and developing the Kingdom's stand on issues under discussion, giving the fact that corruption is an international issue that transcends national borders.
c) Benefiting from the experience of other countries and international government and non-government organizations in the field of maintaining integrity and combating corruption.
d) Keeping abreast of international developments in the field of identification and control of corruption and bribery offenses.
e) Working towards achieving more effective cooperation, mutual legal assistance, exchange of information, opinion and expertise in the field of maintaining integrity and combating corruption with GCC, Arab, Muslim and friendly countries.
f) The Official Translation Department at the Bureau of Experts at the Council of Ministers, established pursuant to Council of Ministers' Resolution No. (134), dated 2 Jumada I 1422H, shall give priority to adopt the translation of laws enacted in the Kingdom to combat corruption into world languages for the use of such translations when attending foreign conferences concerned with combating corruption so as to highlight the Kingdom's efforts and stand regarding this issue.
A national commission for combating corruption shall be established to assume the following duties:
a) Pursue implementation of the Strategy, identify, evaluate and review results thereof, and develop action plans and application mechanisms.
b) Coordinate public and private sectors' efforts in planning, monitoring and evaluating anti-corruption programs.
c) Receive and review periodic reports and statistics produced by the competent agencies and prepare analytical data.
d) Gather, classify, categorize, analyze and exchange information, data and statistics with relevant competent agencies.