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Morocco: New Democratic Government Fights Corruption

 By Morocco News Agency Staff

Rabat, Morocco --- January 18, 2012 ... During the election campaign in Morocco, Prime Minister Benkirane had repeatedly promised that the fight against corruption would be a high priority for his new government.

Now, the Benkirane government has begun to make good on this promise and embarked on a major anti-corruption campaign. At the instructions of Benkirane, Morocco's Central Agency for the Prevention of Corruption (ICPC) is preparing a document with "priority" proposals how to strengthen the fight against corruption in the Kingdom.

The ICPC President Abdeslam Aboudrar pointed out that the ICPC is preparing for a major transformation. With a new priority status, the ICPC is gearing up for a major surge in order to bolster the campaign against corruption in Morocco.

Aboudrar notes that the new Constitution in Morocco awarded the ICPC a new status for the national-level prevention of, and fight against, corruption. This will allow the ICPC to consolidate its missions to prevent corruption. The ICPC will now be able to assign and launch major investigations dealing with various forms of corruption.

This new status will also give the ICPC the prerogative of horizontal framework of efforts in order to both prevent and fight against corruption through a national strategy in conjunction with other law enforcement agencies.

"The ICPC is in the process of preparing a paper on priority proposals to strengthen the efforts made by Morocco in the fight against corruption, including the adoption of legislation concerning the implementation of certain existing laws as well as the enactment of other legislation particularly in relation to access to information, conflict of interest and revision of the Law on Declaration of Assets," Aboudrar explained.

"The ICPC proposals also address the need for effective enforcement of the law resulting in prosecutions and sanctions against those involved in corruption cases. In addition, these proposals aim to embed the strategic dimension in all policies against corruption, improve governance in the public and private sectors, as well as to promote the importance of integrity and the fight against corruption through public awareness campaigns."

Abdeslam Aboudrar pointed out some of the practical aspects of the challenges facing the ICPC.
He explained that these priority proposals relate to "the need for effective enforcement of the law" which should result in "prosecutions and sanctions against those involved in corruption." Aboudrar calls for the establishment of specialized courts to handle corruption cases.

The Department of Justice in Morocco has already agreed to the creation of Chambers specializing in financial crimes at Morocco's four Courts of Appeal. The ICPC hopes to capitalize on this initiative in order to create a special system of justice "to end the impunity that is one of the causes of the phenomenon of corruption."

Aboudrar is cognizant of the magnitude of the reforms needed.

He argues that implementing this system of justice requires specialized adaptation of the procedures for investigation and inquiry with the specificities of the different categories of crime, creating a specialized police, assigning special prosecutors, and the adoption by magistrates and judges of the recommendations and the minutes prepared by the officers of the police and expert reports and searches.

The new courts will also have to use the services of bailiffs and other organizations specializing in the technical aspects of corruption cases. Most important, however, will be the promotion of training and capacity building of the various stakeholders, as well as the expansion of the legal criminal code to upgrade the working mechanisms of specialist justices. Aboudrar concludes that the priority challenge is to train magistrates and judges in order to carry out this task so as to accelerate and promote the quality of casework related to financial crimes.

Also of great importance is the creation of public awareness in Morocco of the imperative to both prevent and fight corruption. The emphasis of the anti-corruption message during the elections campaign resonated positively with the majority of voters.

Aboudrar is adamant on capitalizing on this trend in order to ensure long-term tangible impact.

"The ICPC has developed a communications strategy to raise awareness of the harmful effects of corruption in explaining its different forms, its causes and consequences. We delayed the implementation of this strategy due to lack of financial resources allocated to date to the ICPC knowing that the launch of a communications campaign on a national scale requires a large budget," said Aboudrar.

Aboudrar is convinced that he will get the necessary budget from the Benkirane government.




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