Saudi Arabia suspended construction giant Saudi Binladin Group from new contracts on Tuesday following Fridayâ€™s collapse of a crane in Makkahâ€™s Grand Mosque which killed 107 people.Â
It also ordered the Finance Ministry to review existing projects by the firm, a titan of the Arab business world.
King Salman also ordered that the groupâ€™s board members and senior executives be barred from travel abroad after an investigation into last weekâ€™s incident showed the crane was not erected in accordance with the manufacturerâ€™s instructions.Â The disaster was embarrassing for the Saudi ruling family, which defines itself as guardian of Islamâ€™s holiest places and has embarked on a series of enormous construction projects in Makkah aimed at expanding its pilgrimage sites.Â Saudi Binladin Group has long been regarded in the conservative Islamic kingdom as the governmentâ€™s favorite contractor for important or sensitive work, including defense and security projects.Â Explaining the action, an official statement referred without elaborating to the responsibility and â€śshortcomingsâ€ť of the company following an investigation into the crane crash that also injured 238 other people.Â
The suspension, announced in a statement from the royal court, would remain in force until the investigation is complete and until all legal cases are settled, it said.Â The crane toppled over at Makkahâ€™s Grand Mosque last Friday, less than two weeks before Hajj.Â The company, one of the largest contracting companies in the kingdom, had been carrying expansion work at the Grand Mosque. It was founded more than 80 years ago by the father of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, and is run by Osamaâ€™s brother Bakr.Â Neither the company, nor the family, issued an immediate statement on the suspension. The company is believed to have attributed the collapse to a lightning strike breaking a cable that was used to secure the crane.Â A statement by a spokesman for the administration of the mosques in Makkah and Madina said the crane smashed into the part of the Grand Mosque where believers circle the Kaaba â€“ the black-clad cube towards which the worldâ€™s 1.6 billion Muslims face to pray.