JEDDAH — Saudi Arabia's Oversight and Anti-Corruption Authority (Nazaha) has arrested several individuals in connection with the collapse of a residential building in Jeddah, which resulted in seven deaths and eight injuries, due to corrupt practices in issuing building permits.

The authority has initiated an investigation into the collapse of a residential building in the Al-Faisaliyah neighborhood in Jeddah on May 30, 2024, which resulted in seven deaths and eight injuries. The investigation was prompted by indications of corrupt practices in issuing building permits. Nazaha coordinated with a committee formed by the Emir of Makkah Region to investigate the incident.

The investigation revealed technical defects in the building. The municipality had instructed the building owner, Firas Hani Al Turki, Deputy Minister for Shared Services at the Ministry of Culture, to halt construction, but he failed to comply.

Firas's legal representative, Fahad Hussein Ali Sanba, also employed at the Ministry, engaged an engineering consultancy office owned by Majed Mohammed Jameel Bushnaq through a Yemeni intermediary contractor, Mohammed Salim Ahmed Al Hussaissi. They sought to obtain a building permit to add two floors and an upper annex.

An employee of the engineering office requested a demolition permit followed by a building permit containing false information, including doctored photos showing the building had been demolished, in exchange for SR50,000.

The building owner transferred the money to his legal representative, who then handed it to an office employee in cash. Construction proceeded, leading to increased loads and the building's collapse.

The building owner admitted to paying the bribe for the illegal issuance of the permit. All individuals involved have been detained, and legal proceedings are underway. Nazaha confirmed its commitment to enforcing the law with zero tolerance for corruption.

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