Riyadh: Saudi Arabia's King Salman announced two key changes in the cabinet and ordered the formation of a new anti-corruption committee.
The two changes in the cabinet were that of National Guard minister Miteb bin Abdullah, who was replaced by Prince Khaled bin Ayyaf, and minister of economy and planning Adel Fakieh, who was replaced by Mohammed Al-Tuwaijri. Admiral Abdullah Al-Sultan, commander of Saudi Naval Forces, was replaced by Admiral Fahd bin Abdullah Al-Ghifaili.
The Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya news channel reported the kingdom's powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman was named to head a new anti-corruption probe panel.
Al-Arabiya reported that the committee is looking into devastating and deadly floods that overwhelmed parts of the city of Jiddah in 2009 and is investigating the Saudi government's response to the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) virus that has killed several hundred people in the past few years.
Meanwhile, the kingdom's top council of clerics issued a statement saying it is an Islamic duty to fight corruption essentially giving religious backing to the high-level arrests being reported.
The government said the anti-corruption committee has the right to issue arrest warrants, impose travel restrictions and freeze bank accounts. It can also trace funds, prevent the transfer of funds or the liquidation of assets and take other precautionary measures until cases are referred to the judiciary.
The royal order said the committee was established "due to the propensity of some people for abuse, putting their personal interest above public interest, and stealing public funds."