By Loubna Flah
By Loubna Flah
Morocco World News
Casablanca, October 17, 2012
The number of suspected corruption allegations reported to Transparency International in Morocco has increased slightly.
The Center for Anti Corruption Legal Assistance (CAJAC) received 678 complaints in the period from January 1 to August 31, 2012 compared to 547 complaints reported last year.
Transparency International has many centers in Africa and around the world. The CAJAC centers aim at providing legal counseling for corruption victims.
Transparency International defines corruption as the abuse of entrusted power for private gain, which eventually hurts everyone who depends on the integrity of people in a position of authority.
Transparency International is a non-governmental organization that envisions a world in which government, politics, business, civil society, and the daily lives of people are free of corruption.
Morocco was ranked in 80th worldwide with a score of 3.4 in the 2011 Corruption Perception Report, a survey conducted by Transparency International among 183 countries and territories based on perceived levels of public sector corruption.
The report used data from 17 surveys that consider factors such as enforcement of anti-corruption laws, access to information and conflicts of interest.
The number of corruption cases reported to Transparency International in Morocco increased slightly. Seemingly, there is no tangible improvement in the “Struggle against Corruption”, a nationwide campaign heralded by the incumbent government.
The latest report issued by CAJA reveals that the number of corruption complaints reported during the period between May 1st and August 31st reached 297.
The complaints were essentially filed against people in legal roles especially those working in the health sector, justice as well as police authorities.
Alleged corruption is often reported against employees whose mission require of a frequent contact with citizens and especially those who provide vital administrative services to the citizens.
Since the inauguration of its three anti-corruption centers in Morocco, Transparency International received 2247 complaints of which it has investigated 849.
Interviewed by Aujourd’hui le Maroc, Mr. Lahlou, the CAJAC manager says that the number of investigated complaints have increased from 18 to 20 percent
This slight increase is ascribed primarily to incremental awareness among corruption plaintiffs about the eligibility of corruption complaints.
He adds that the CAJAC does not consider corruption complaints unless they are supported by reliable information or concrete evidence.
That said, the figures disclosed by Transparency International do not echo the magnitude of corruption in Moroccan public administration.
Mr. Lahlou asserts that the bulk of Moroccans remain apprehensive of vindictive measures that may be perpetrated by local authorities if they ever report corruption cases.
He pinpoints that corruption witnesses do not feel protected under the new law for witness protection. They are often discouraged by the arsenal of sanctions they may endure if the corruption complaint is proved to be fake or groundless.
It is noteworthy that the CAJAC sent 31 inquiry requests to the Moroccan authorities. Nevertheless, only 7 requests were considered eligible for investigation.
Mr. Lahlou makes it clear that the complaints considered by local authorities are not always duly investigated.
Indeed, local authorities often require further evidence that puts the witness confidentiality in jeopardy.
The local authorities tend also to send correspondences to International Transparency asserting that certain measures were undertaken without providing further details.