Every year millions of Muslims from around the world make their way to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in order to perform the major and minor pilgrimages known as Hajj and Umrah respectively. In order to accommodate such a large amount of people there are various business and agencies that offer Hajj and Umrah services. These businesses operating in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia have to obtain a license from the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah prior to commencing business, however one company had not been allowed to operate for more than a decade and now the court has ruled upon the issue.
In one of the heftiest penalties ever given to a private sector in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a court in Makkah has issued an order to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to pay an amount of compensation amounting to SAR 105 million. The Ministry of Hajj and Umrah has been ordered to pay this amount because of the fact that they had blocked the services of a company for a consecutive term of 14 years. The court in Makkah has also granted the firm / company named Labbaik, who specialize in the Umrah services, the right to resume their business and commence operations. In the lawsuit filed by the company, the representative of the company stated that the company has had to incur losses which are amounting to a staggering SAR 709 million, over the course of nearly one and a half decade, due to the fact that their business license had been canceled by the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah. The company requested that their losses be fulfilled by the Ministry itself.
Even though the court rejected the staggering amount of SAR 709 million, and then had an audit done on the financial records of the company which established that the company had been incurring losses which amount to around 143 million. The court in Makkah then ordered the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah to pay up a total amount of SAR 105 million to the Labbaik firm.
Another court in Riyadh has also just confirmed that those penalties that are stipulated in the regulations in relation to the Hajj and Umrah travel companies do not include the final cancelation of the business licenses and that it may only be done for a short limited period of time.
The case has made several developments and the court in Makkah has sent a notification to the Investigation and Audit Bureau to question the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah about the open refusal by them to work within the rules and regulations which have been set for any and all business activity.
Source: Arab News
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