Arab News – The Saudi Arabian Monetary Agency (SAMA) has instructed local banks not to issue ATM or credit cards to accounts specific for the construction, renovation or expansion of mosques, as this is considered a violation, and any exchanges should only be made via checks and joint signings after the source of funds has been identified and verified.
If the source is a collection of donations, an authorization of the relevant authority must be attached.
According to a source, SAMA’s move puts into effect official rules related to opening bank accounts, and general rules to operate these accounts in Saudi commercial banks. These rules set a number of requirements and standards that permit the opening and maintenance of accounts specific to construction, renovation and expansion of mosques.
The rules require obtaining a letter from the Ministry of Islamic Affairs, Endowments, Call and Guidance, or one of its branches in the specific location, with a request to open an account, with specific details of the objective of the account, as well as a copy of the approval of the ministry to carry out these operations.
“A committee will be tasked to follow up on these operations, personally headed by the director of the ministry’s branch, and with membership of two officials of the branch,” said the source.
The account is to be managed personally by the director of the ministry’s branch (a main signatory), in conjunction with another member of the committee, according to the regulations, while copies of IDs of committee members authorized to sign must be provided.
The rules also require the specification of the duration of the account’s validity based on the period of time needed to build, renovate or expand the mosque. If the duration of the work needs to be extended, it requires obtaining an official letter from the ministry or one of its branches, as well as financial approval if the source of the funds is from the state budget. The financial approval should be obtained by a request from the ministry communicated to the bank by SAMA.

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