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2009-02-10

Morocco plagued by corruption, new survey reveals

By Hassan Benmehdi for Magharebia in Casablanca – 10/02/09

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At its thirteenth general meeting on February 1st in Rabat, Transparency Maroc (TM) commended the efforts of many public institutions and civil society in fighting corruption in Morocco, but still described it as not good enough.

Corruption remains deeply rooted, and the problem is only growing, according to the organisation.

"In fact, whilst the country maintained its score of 3.5 out of 10, which it obtained in 2007, under the Corruption Perceptions Index, it has, however, slipped from 72nd place to 80th," said Rachid Filali Meknassi, secretary-general of Transparency Maroc, upon presenting the 2008 report.

Filali Meknassi explained that endemic corruption continues to flourish, sheltered by "impunity maintained by public authorities".

The latest report from Transparency Maroc reached a similar conclusion concerning the Index of Corruption in Exporting Countries 2008, which included Morocco for the first time.

The observations in this area are alarming.

According to survey results, 46% of Moroccan businessmen questioned use corruption to facilitate or speed up administrative or customs procedures. These same people also acknowledge using contacts among their families and friends for the same purpose.

An anonymous businessman told Magharebia that he often has to resort to such practices, particularly when "faced with an archaic, bureaucratic administration and civil servants who are used to blackmail and care little about the public interest".

Some 33% of survey respondents use personal contacts to influence decisions on public calls for tender. These same business leaders, however, have critical views about the government’s actions in fighting corruption: 67% consider the steps taken to be very (or completely) ineffectual, 27% consider them effective, and barely 3% consider them very effective.

TM’s 2008 report also shows that the legal system remains mired in corruption. It comes out top of the list of corrupt state institutions, with a score of 3.6 out of 5, followed by the police (3.4), the offices issuing permits and authorisations (3.1), and health services (3).

These are the same state bodies which were found most wanting by the Global Corruption Barometer in 2006.

Transparency Maroc deplored the fact that, despite some modernisation efforts by government ministries, little progress has been achieved.

During the general meeting, Transparency Maroc presented current and future projects, particularly the monitoring and documentation work carried out by the National Corruption Observatory and the launch of the Citizens’ Action and Judicial Assistance Centre, intended to provide assistance and advice to victims of corruption.

"The fact that this gangrene has taken such a hold shows that there is something deeply wrong with the mechanisms for nominating and appointing uniformed individuals or members of the public with electoral mandates," said Nouvelle Tribune editorial writer Fahd Yata, who has been following the involvement to date of over 100 state and elected officials in cases of corruption or abuse of power.

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    العربي مهديوي 2012-10-5

    What is the number of corrupters? What is the corruption which needs to be fought? Playing with words in this particular moment which is intended to be used for personal interests is something absurd. Moreover, the political and economic situation is not appropriate for any change which fights corruption. Ignorance, poverty and helplessness of man make the individual powerless. This means that fighting corruption begins with determination, justice, separating powers and democracy. These are basic elements. When these elements become available for you, we can consider you part of the Arab Spring which has become autumn.

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    مظلوم 2011-11-6

    The oddest story is the one I have experienced. I vowed to be fair and work hard. My choice was necessary to restore state funds plundered by the corrupt. I restored huge sums for the nation. I asked to be exempted from my mission in order to take care of my wife who has an incurable disease. I couldn’t convince the remaining corrupt people, including dignitaries and influential people. There was ignorance of the employer. Afterwards, the corrupt were arraigned by justice, which didn’t do anything useful. But it released them. I was exempted when it was too late. The situation of my wife worsened, then she died. I wasn’t rewarded for my job. I was ignored by the employer. I was forced to marry a public servant from the family in order to take care of my orphan children. When she moved to domestic house, she was convicted of corruption given her missions at work before marriage. She was imprisoned. When I wanted to divorce, I was subject to provocation and harassment from the Moroccan justice in order to keep that corrupt wife. I began to doubt the acts and entourage of the wife. But I didn’t give in. This is how began my problems with the family justice. It contributed to the loss of my children. So how can corruption be fought in Morocco while I, who reforms and protects public funds, find myself sanctioned and marginalised? I am enduring hardships just because I am victim of fairness and citizenship. This is how life continues with disappointment and loss of trust. By God, I don’t deny it, what makes me resist is the royal decoration. His majesty the king enhanced my determination but I am frustrated.

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    tanirte 2011-5-11

    hi i just wanna said that corruption is is cancer destroy our country morocco also the world to avoid or fight corruption they have to encourage itizens

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    تحيا الثورة 2011-2-15

    Doesn’t the situation require a revolution in Morocco like the Egyptian revolution to eliminate corruption? Are there no more honest, jealous or valiant people in Morocco?

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    Somebody concerned 2011-1-17

    I cannot understand what goes on in Morocco.... many people I know want to invest there, but and that is a BIG BUT, corruption has overwhelmed this great country, a great country, in the sense that its history is unsurpassed. After reading all of the above comments there was only one comment that did not read truthfully and was very defensive (this is normal in Morocco to compare other countries). People always believe that Morocco is a inexpensive holiday..... well, think again, with all the elevated prices especially in Marjane and hotels and all the tips (that is hidden under the statement 'its traditional') Well, Morocco you need a hand in overcoming this and the only way is to Boycott and not go to Morocco. As soon as you arrive the police at the airport have their eyes on you waiting to pounce and they make up any reason to interact with you and then their eyes start looking you up and down while they think of a reason to suspect you in any way so as to say 'whats in it for me'. My wife recently wanted to go on holiday with a friend to Morocco and I advised against it, for the very simple reason of all the aforementiond comments. Hotels are the most glamourous hotels in the world but once again corruption allows for hotels to be infested with sleaze.... Example pay the security or the night manager at night and all will be well. I could writ about this all night but I am limited to 1800 characters. I wish the poor Moroccan people all the best in their fight against corruption, but I am not hopeful. Take heed and steer clear, that is my advice to all

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    محمد 2010-12-20

    Give bribery to make things move! This is the slogan of Mr Berada, local district of Tenine Sidi Lyamani, province of Tangier-Assilah for the year 2010. The head of this district (B.M.) takes from residents of the region 3000 dirhams bribery. By the way, he hails from a very poor family. The question is how can Morocco overcome this phenomenon which threatens its future? Thank you!

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    suzieQ 2010-12-17

    I am a foreigner living in morocco as my husband is moroccan and i could go on for "literally" days about the endless corruption in this country. ever since i landed here from mohamed v airport and the corrupt police officials there to the main police office building in casablanca city which by the way is a joke, when i first went there i was like... "oh what a nice proffessional looking police building thingy" and then i walked inside and was like ummm.. "where is all the furniture and why is it so old in here"...its just rediculous. In my opinion i dont think anything will change although i have hope, corruption is so deeply embedded in this country and i think its applaudable that there are people who are trying to introduce many different means to help fight the corruption issue, unless something really does make a huge impact things will continue the way they are.

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    rahman 2010-7-30

    This is one of the most corrupt countries that I have visited. I got married to a Moroccan woman and even though I am muslim, I have had to pay my share of money to local officals, do the endless number of paperwork and stamps and wait, wait and wait. This country needs a serious overhaul. Corruption starts at the top and I mean the King and his cronies who run the country as if it is their own grocery store. Unfortunately, this cabal benefits from corruption as it strengthens their hand and keeps the Moroccan people forever dependent on their whims. Moroccans can gripe all they want, corruption will not change here unless there is a serious committment from the ruling elite who controls the police, public officals and the courts.

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    Khaled 2010-3-29

    I am not Moroccan but have been to the country several times and encountered the corruption over and over again first hand. One cannot move foward in doing business in Morocco without bribes or Rashwa as it is called. I like the country and the people but decided against investing due to the corruption at every level. My Moroccan friends tell me that it is even necessary to give a bribe in a hospital. For foreigners, even marriage involves the necessary Rashwa. I have a british friend who after much difficulty was allowed to marry his morrocan fiance but at the cost of approx £1000 rashwa distributed to various departments including the court. A lebanese friend didnt succeed in marrying his fiance because he took a stand against paying the rashwa. For a non-Moroccan like myself, the corruption makes little difference to me since I can chose not to do business in the country. But its really sad for Moroccan people who have to live with this system of governance. At every level of their lives, they must pay bribes to access services that people in many other countries take for granted. One of those the ppl that commented, mentioned that the talk of corruption in Morocco is against the Arab-Muslim civilization. This is nonsensical since the corruption is against true Muslim and Arab values. Actually, if only the government officials demonstrated muslim and true Arab values, the situation would not be like this. So its claimed the goverment is trying to fight corruption. Honestly over the years I have been visiting Morocco, it does not seem to have changed. Ask Moroccans, most will agree. How can the government seriously move against corruption when the officials keeping it in power are the most corrupt. Police, army and courts are the worst.

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    Aziz 2010-2-25

    No one will be suprised with this result. the corruption is part of the culture in morocco and the real question is how can after years and years of this deadly disease we never saw or heard one person got cut and went to jail for his actions. Saying nice ans sweet words about your country dont mean that you love that country and love to see a real change.

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    kabiri 2009-11-20

    We need this day what awakens our enthusiasm and courage in order to eliminate corrupters and corruption. But in our dear country, everyone is preying on the distraction of others and reap at their detriment unimaginable profits exploiting sometimes the ignorance of others and in other times their need and poverty. If you have presented the examples of Marjane, Acima, and giants, I will show you simple examples of the avidity of physicians and pharmacists in making the maximum profits at the expense of the health of the citizen which has become for them a profitable trade bringing profits to the doctor and pharmacists. He advises you for example to mix three or for medicines which have one effect so that he will be the first and last winner. You come in the morning and thank him but you forget that the kidneys and liver were worn out by this mixture. Ultimately you will end up doing dialysis if you are lucky enough to avoid death.

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    BEN M HAMED 2009-7-14

    Corruption in Morocco is caused by illegal means available for everyone in ONA markets – Acima and Marjane. Marjane is the stronghold of alcoholic drinks and depravity. However, this luxurious economic centre is now manipulating to make profit on the detriment of the Moroccan people shamelessly by imposing on low-income Moroccans with high prices of all consumer goods. This was intentional especially because they have closed all available and easy ways by importing goods in the west which are lower prices and with a decision of ONA prices of oil for example are doubled. A litre of oil in Europe is much cheaper than in dear Morocco.

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    belagnaoui 2009-2-17

    Finally! I think that the fight against corruption is off to a good start. When we see the number of officials who have been implicated in corruption and who have been tried and sentenced by Morocco’s courts, it gives hope that this calamity will come to an end. We simply need a little bit of courage and tenacity in order to overcome this scourge. We can be proud of our country once we are sure that impunity is no more. But, we need to continue this fight, not abandon it. From the lowest to the highest, the corrupt agents of all fields have something to be afraid of, because society and the state have decided to strike hard in order to avoid underdevelopment, corruption and inequality. So, let us be vigilant and let us say: “Stop corruption so that our country develops!” We need a democratic state with a healthy administration and we need a conscious and strong people in order to defeat underdevelopment.

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    Bendjeffal 2009-2-12

    I am quite dismayed at this premeditated, well-calculated war against Morocco and its Arab-Muslim civilisation. Everyone is uniting against Morocco in order to destabilise it so that it will join the West like Tunisia did, eyes closed. Gentlemen, Morocco has been a civilisation (or, at least, an established state) for several centuries; it is not Tunisia. So, if you speak of corruption, then go take a look at the USA, France and Great Britain. Take a look at Ehud Olmert and Ariel Sharon. Keep on with your boot licking, because you will never get the Nobel Peace Prize on the backs of the Moroccans, nor will you get it on the destruction of this country, which has been made as grand by its civilisation as it has by its people. Boutros Boutros-Gali may have got the Nobel Peace Prize on the backs of the Palestinians and Egyptians, but you are not of the same generation, gentlemen. Leave Morocco to its true children, who are ready to build, not destroy.

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    acharif moulay abdellah bouskraoui 2009-2-11

    May praise be to God alone- Morocco is doing its best to combat the scourge of corruption. The number of those who are in prison because of this scourge continues to increase. This is an endless, merciless war against all those who think they are above the law. If this proves anything, it is that we are a state of law. In how many Arab countries can you find high-ranking officials in prison? –None. Only Morocco has the will to fight this scourge. Therefore, do not bother worrying, because now, thanks to this merciless war against corruption, the investors and the citizens trust in our institutions and our fair legal system. We are a state of law, and with the decisions of our august King, Mohamed VI, Morocco will become the number-one democratic country in all the Arab world. –Signed, Acharif Moulay Abdellah Bouskraoui

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    saidani miloudi 2009-2-11

    Corruption I think is an uncurable cancer that destroys all the Arab world.If you would like me to eradicate it from the country how much would you pay me for my coffee/tea? .......................................................

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    Ezroura 2009-2-11

    As a more efficient way to fight corruption is to encourage the citizens to report the cases of abuse through special offices to be created in different buildings in town. Transparency Maroc should open offices for complaints throughout the Country where people could address their complaints (with proof of course) without fear of reprisals. The individuals would fill in forms or talk to specific officials about the particular corruption incidents they have been victims to; the forms should be prepared in advance by TM and made available at these TM outlets or in post offices, etc... A compaign should be launched explaining this to the general public so that those who are getting wealthy through corruption will be scared and stop their malpractice. Without the help of the general public, without the public's feeling of security and protection when reporting corruption incidents, TM will never succeed in eliminating corruption from the Country. Other structures also need to be created; such as fighting nepotism, encouraging checks and balances, and encouraging fair treatment of excellence that has no tribal affiliation.

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    Ringzy 2009-2-11

    Well... as bad as it is, it's bloody understandable when you have to go to 18 different offices to get one stamp only to return to the first office across town to find the guy you're looking for is not there anymore because he decided to leave 2 hours early. I'm sorry, but the bureaucracy in Morocco is one among the worst I've encountered and it can seriously piss you off. I love living here, but when I'm confronted with all the permits and paperwork, I can totally understand why people resort to a quick 200 DH to get things sorted! I can't even get a school started here!! An English school ! Something that would benefit the country. The laws discourage it. Can you believe that? Ah well.. let me shut up, I can go on for hours. I tell you, it's the bloody French that messed all this up! And many Moroccans unfortunately in all ignorance keep looking to France as their saviour. Other than that, lovely country!

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