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New Moroccan body to combat corruption and bribery

The Moroccan government yesterday endorsed a bill creating a national body to ensure integrity by fighting and preventing bribery.

The body will benefit from financial independence and specialise in the fight against bribery and corruption.

In a press conference held in the capital Rabat, following a cabinet meeting, Mustafa Al-Khalfi, the Minister of Communication and the Moroccan government spokesman, said: “This project is in the framework of activating the provisions of Article 36 of the Constitution which demands for the creation of a National Commission for integrity and the fight and prevention of bribery and to enable the powers against corruption to expand to the area of intervention to act against corruption.”

Al-Khalfi clarified that this project converts the Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption to “an independent specialised national body which has a legal nature and enjoys financial autonomy, with control and assessment of its terms of reference and powers by relating with the terms of reference of other bodies. Thereby its role will be strengthened and will lead to its expansion and consolidation, leading to a culture of integrity and anti-corruption.

“It would be delegated the task of contributing to the development of effective national programmes in the field of prevention and combating corruption, and the values of responsible citizenship, in addition to being qualified to carry out new powers in the field of prevention of acts of corruption.”

The tasks of this body lie essentially in the “receiving of notifications and complaints and performing subsequent research and investigation” on the fight against corruption and bribery, as well as to “prepare a national database on corruption in the public and private sectors, and keep track of public policies and examine the various manifestations of corruption, and fight it through the creation of a special observatory body,” Al-Khalfi explained.

The project also allows for the “authority of establishing national strategic programmes for communication, awareness and the dissemination of values of integrity to prevent and combat corruption, while retaining the power to evaluate and track the implementation of this strategy,” according to Al-Khalfi.

Moroccan law requests the referral of bills for government ratification, and for the parliament to debate and approve the bill before it is implemented following publication in the Official Gazette of the Kingdom of Morocco.

According to the Moroccan government led by Abdelilah Benkirane, the secretary-general of the Islamist Justice and Development Party, the fight against corruption and bribery is a priority for them.

In December, Benkirane declared that no progress had been made in tackling corruption, expressing his “firm” desire to address “this plague” through the application of the law and the cooperation between the institutions concerned, and taking all necessary measures in this area.

Morocco fell by four points, ranking 91 on a global level, according to the index of Transparency International in 2013, which monitors corruption in the countries of the world in ascending order of least corrupt, where the most corrupt nation takes first place.

Morocco’s King Mohammed VI appointed Benkirane’s government on January 3, 2012, and installed a parliament on January 22, before appointing a second government headed by Benkirane on October 10, 2013.

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