UN Conventions and Other Agreements
United Nations Convention against Corruption: signed 9 December 2003, ratified on 9 May 2007.
United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime: signed 13 December 2000, ratified 9 September 2002.
Morocco is a founding member of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force, established on 30 November 2004 as a voluntary regional association to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Transparency Maroc, founded in 1996, is the national chapter of Transparency International.
Government Institutions and Initiatives
In 2001 the government promised the creation of an independent authority to monitor corruption, and it formally established the Central Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (ACPC) in May 2007, although, attached to the prime minister’s office, it is not independent and has limited powers and resources, lacking investigative, auditing, and monitoring prerogatives. In April 2005 the government had announced a six-point plan to fight corruption. Among the measures is a requirement that all high office holders formally disclose their assets and net worth before and after holding public office. Implementing legislation passed both chambers of parliament in 2008 but was still pending review by the Constitutional Court.
The Special Court of Justice (CSJ), which had dealt with cases of corruption since 1965, was replaced in 2004 by five courts of appeal. The judiciary will now have greater independence in the pursuit of justice against officials and other citizens accused of corruption. Non-governmental organizations, including Transparency Maroc, had urged such reform. The new legislation also stiffens some penalties in the Criminal Code.
The Inspection Générale des Finances, the government auditing office, has shown new signs of life since 2003 by uncovering a variety of scandals involving many senior politicians: stories of financial fraud, embezzlement, fictitious government professional training programs, loans to fictitious companies, and unguaranteed loans to well placed businessmen have in turn been published in the press but not prosecuted.
Civil Society Initiatives
The Moroccan branch of Transparency International, a civic association named Transparency Maroc, brings to light examples of corruption in areas such as the judiciary, education, health, public administration, tax collection, and the media. The association established a “National Observatory of Corruption” in June 2007 that publicized 1500 instances of corruption in bulletins issued during its first year of activity. Its activists maintain a highly visible profile, organizing public marches and implementing advertising campaigns on television and billboards across the country. They organized a program in 2004 in partnership with the Ministry of Education to train high school students to track cases of corruption on the Internet.
Forty-six non-governmental organizations, including Transparency Maroc, have banded together to form the Network Against Corruption (NAC), which works actively with support from key government officials to reduce corruption in Morocco’s extensive bureaucracy.
The General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM), which set up a special commission in 2006 to combat corruption, has taken the lead in devising a code of ethics, adopted in 2008, and promoting a culture of transparency and corporate responsibility for its private sector membership.
The press for its part enjoyed new freedom in 2004-05 to publicize issues of corruption even concerning the business activities of senior military officers. Scandals concerning the “voluntary contributions” for building the Hassan II Mosque, completed in 1993 at a cost of US $500 to $800 million, finally came to light. So also did fraud in the tourism and housing sector, major banks, and the government office responsible for professional training.
In July 1999, a decree was passed that improved the bidding and audit procedures for public contracts. Moreover, reports must now describe selection criteria for such procurement. Moroccan legislators, while admitting there is much room for similar efforts, have stated that these efforts are a step in the right direction. The General Confederation of Moroccan Enterprises (CGEM) encouraged new legislation in 2005 for public tenders, but it did not include regulations for procurement by the armed forces. The law on public concessions (“service public délégué”) adopted in 2006 is a positive step toward regulating procurement in public services such as water or electricity distribution. A decree issued on 5 February 2007, ostensibly designed to give greater flexibility in the use of electronic information for public tenders, may also make these markets more transparent.
Anti Money Laundering
A comprehensive counterterrorism bill passed in June 2003 already provides the legal basis for lifting bank secrecy against suspected terrorists, and the central bank also issued Memorandum No. 36 in December 2003, in advance of passage of anti-money laundering legislation, instructing banks and other financial institutions to conduct their own internal analysis/investigations. The law of April 7, 2007, calls for a Financial Intelligence Unit to track suspicious financial movements. Morocco was a founding member in 2004 of the Middle East and North Africa Financial Action Task Force (MENAFATF), a part of the global network to combat money laundering and terrorist financing.
Corruption Perception Index
Morocco scored 3.3 on Transparency International's Corruption Perception Index 2009. The scale runs from 0 (high corruption) to 10 (no corruption). Morocco had scored 3.5 in 2008 was ranked 80th among the 180 countries in the world ahead of Algeria but behind Kuwait. In 2007, Morocco scored 3.5 ranking as 72nd place among 180 countries, behind Tunisia but ahead of Saudi Arabia and Algeria. In 2006 Morocco scored 3.2 and was also in 72nd place, among 163 rather than 180 countries, ahead of Algeria.