2023 Portfolios: Dismissal of Atiyatullah Brothers after 1 Billion Dollar Embezzlement, Ruling Family Maintains Secrecy over Issue

Ahmed Atiyatullah and Salman Atiyatullah, involved in the embezzlement of 400 million dinars
Ahmed Atiyatullah and Salman Atiyatullah, involved in the embezzlement of 400 million dinars

2024-02-26 - 3:55 p

Bahrain Mirror (2023 Portfolios): In March 2023, conflicting reports indicated that the Minister of Follow-up at the Royal Court, Ahmed Atiyatullah, had been dismissed, and his brother, Salman Atiyatullah, relieved of his duty as head of the King Hamad Hospital.

Circulating information revealed that the two men embezzled 400 million dinars (approximately one billion dollars), but the ruling family chose to keep the embezzlement under wraps, despite it being one of the largest in the country's history.

Ahmed Atiyatullah had maintained a low profile in the media prior to the leak of information regarding his and his brother's involvement in a large embezzlement. In fact, the minister's last media appearance in the local press was in November of 2022, when the Sheikh of Al-Azhar Ahmed El-Tayeb visited the country.

At official meetings of the king, Atiyatullah was often seen alongside Royal Court Minister Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa (his uncle), and accompanied Crown Prince Salman bin Hamad on his official visits abroad.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa issued on (March 4, 2023) a royal order appointing Majid bin Ali Al-Nuaimi as Minister of Public Affairs at the Royal Court, assuming the responsibilities previously held by Atiyatullah, but without announcing the latter's official dismissal.

This is not the first time Minister Atiyatullah has been dismissed; King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa dismissed him in February 2011 in an attempt to contain a popular uprising seeking to end the ruling family's monopoly over power and wealth in the country.

Atiyatullah was dismissed from his role as Minister of Cabinet Affairs, as part of a group of four ministers, known as the Ministers of Crisis, during that period.

Atiyatullah was entrusted with handling the country's most sensitive files and was involved in a scheme to exclude and marginalize the Shiite community, as revealed in a report by former royal court adviser Dr. Salah Al-Bandar.

During his more than 10-year tenure as Minister of Follow-up at the Royal Court, Ahmed Atiyatullah was officially assigned no executive or financial tasks, raising suspicions among the opposition about the existence of a secret state budget overseen by the Royal Court.

The embezzlement of 400 million dinars confirms that the royal court oversees expenditures that are not included in the general state budget, which is overseen by the prime minister and 23 ministers.

In a related development, Al-Ayyam newspaper reported on April 27, 2023 the appointment of Colonel Dr. Sheikh Salman bin Mohammed bin Abdullah Al Khalifa as acting head of King Hamad University Hospital, succeeding his brother Salman Atiyatullah. 

Salman Atiyatullah had served as the head of King Hamad University Hospital since its opening in 2012 and was, by virtue of his position, a member of the Supreme Council of Health, responsible for setting health policies in the country.

Arabic Version