Unauthorized fundraisers face prison, deportation

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JEDDAH: Indulging in charity work or fundraising activity in the Kingdom without license or official permission will invite various penalties, jail terms and deportation as per the Kingdom’s law.

Years after deliberations among members of the Council of Experts at the Shoura Council and the Council of Ministers, the subject of fundraising and its disbursement regulations in the Kingdom will be concluded next Tuesday.

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The Shoura Council is scheduled to submit its recommendations to Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman after finishing its re-study of the issue as per Article 17 of the regulations.

The Committee on Society, Family and Youth endorsed amendments made by the government to Articles 10, 20, and 21, as well as the merging of Articles 4 and 6, separation of Article 21 into two, elimination of Article 2 and including its stipulations under Article 3, as well as some amendments to the text of other articles.

As per Article 8, licensed parties may not receive donations from non-Saudi people or entities inside or outside the Kingdom except as per the specified controls under the regulations.

According to Article 18, individuals who raise funds or collect donations without official licenses and approvals are punishable with a jail sentence of between six months and two years, while non-Saudis will be deported upon completion of the sentence.

Violators of Article 5 of the regulations will be fined up to SR200,000, with the possibility of the fine doubling for repeated cases. Individuals or entities who raise funds, collect or disburse donations in a manner that violates the regulations will be fined up to SR500,000, which will be doubled for repeat offenses, whereas employees or officials of licensed entities who commit such violations will be fined up to SR50,000, which will also be doubled for repeat offenses.

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The specialized court will look into application of these punishments and reserves the right to confiscate donations collected, as well as determine the entity to which such donations belong.

Added to the article is the punishment of the person with special legal status and elimination of the minimum fine and leaving this to the discretion to the competent court, due to varying situations and financial capabilities of the identities that will be presented before the court. (Arab News)