Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman has vowed that his government would have zero tolerance for corruption in the country, and that he and other members of the royal family are not above the law.
“In some countries the kings and heads of state have immunity from prosecution. But here any citizen can file lawsuits against the king, crown prince or other members of the royal family,” said King Salman at Al-Salam Palace in Jeddah on Wednesday, during a meeting with anti-corruption officials and activists from the public and private sectors.
King Salman said his father was once sued by a citizen. King Abdul Aziz insisted on letting the law take its course and appeared in court with the plaintiff, where they were treated as equals. The verdict was in favor of the king but he waived his rights. Sheikh Saad bin Atiq was the judge.
He said Allah would reward citizens who point out mistakes made by him, members of the government, or community. The public can lodge complaints face to face, on the telephone or in writing, he said.
King Salman said he considers the rights of citizens “more important” than his own, and that the real defense against corrupt activity was the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet, peace be upon him.
King Salman said the Kingdom is a safe haven for everyone. “Thanks to Allah, our constitution is Quran, the Sunnah of His Messenger, and the example of the pious Khalifs. Thank Allah, our country is secure and stable, and any citizen who visits us can address us by our first names, without any honorific title, just as citizens used to address our father,” the king said.
Speaking on the occasion, Khaled Al-Muhaisin, chairman of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (Integrity), said: “Since the unification of the Kingdom, the major goal of the founder of the nation, King Abdulaziz, has been to fight corruption.”
Al-Muhaisin said King Abdulaziz sent out a message to citizens that if they do not lodge complaints about officials then it was like sinning against themselves. The founder had placed a complaints box at the gate to Government House and kept the key so that citizens would not fear any retaliation from their powerful adversaries.
Al-Muhaisin said this message currently serves as a guidelines for (Integrity). He thanked King Salman for supporting the organization’s activities, including efforts to revise regulations that would strengthen its mandate.