Social Affairs Ministry admits charities raised funds illegally
The Ministry of Social Affairs has revealed that law-enforcement agencies closed down some of its charities because they had raised funds illegally from the public. In reports sent to the Shoura Council, officials at the ministry admitted that these offices had committed the offenses, but did not specify how long they would remain closed.
Abdulaziz Al-Hadlaq, chairman of the Shoura Council’s social affairs, family and youth committee, revealed this information in a review of information supplied by the Social Affairs Ministry. Arab News reported last week that law-enforcement agencies closed down 20 charities linked to the ministry in the Eastern Province in November for these violations. Seventy percent of these charities were raising funds through unauthorized outlets.
Government agencies also recently shuttered nine offices of the International Islamic Relief Organization, which has an agreement with the Islamic Affairs Ministry, for collecting donations illegally for social welfare projects.
Meanwhile, Al-Hadlaq said the Social Affairs Ministry has rejected the notion that it is responsible for arresting beggars. This was under the jurisdiction of other government agencies, the ministry had stated, said Al-Hadlaq. The ministry also said that it spent SR247 million to pay electricity bills and grants for 390,000 beneficiaries in 2014. The Shoura Council called on the ministry to open more shelters and improve training for staff across the Kingdom. It also urged the ministry to complete its national strategy for combating domestic violence.
The Shoura called on the ministry to appoint an independent company to conduct a complete study of its operations. The study should include proposals on how to improve the performance of the ministry’s employees. In another matter, Shoura member Abdullah bin Nasif called for the establishment of a fodder factory linked to the Grain Silos and Flour Mills Organization to control fodder prices, but the council rejected this suggestion.
He argued that this suggestion should be considered because high fodder prices would eventually raise the cost of meat. He said Tabuk, Al-Jouf, Madinah, Al-Ahsa, Al-Jamoum and Al-Kharj are ideal places to establish these fodder factories, because the ones in Riyadh, Al-Qasim and Asir can no longer meet the growing requirements of livestock owners. In his rejection of the proposal, Mohammad Al-Mutairi, chairman of the Haj, housing and service committee, said there are already six factories operating, and five more have been approved.