The penal code in Morocco is under harsh scrutiny by the powers-that-be, and now, after weeks of analysis and reforms, the new penal code is still insufficient. Though the reforms have helped to fight national corruption, they are still lacking in the protection of public property and prevention of corruption.
The Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption [ICPC] claims that Morocco is making progress on reforming the penal code to meet ICPC standards, but not all of the recommendations have been adopted in the current code. Most recently, on September 1st, Morocco’s Supreme Council of the Judiciary published a report listing the promoted and sanctioned judges as part of a transparency initiative to curtail bribery and corruption in the judiciary.
Jamal Moussaoui, head of the National Cooperation & Coordination Unit within the ICPC, is hopeful of Morocco’s future reforms.
“I will not say that the reform of the Penal Code is a big step, but it’s a better step,” he stated.
However, there is still much to be accomplished, as the Moroccan penal code was previously antiquated and riddled with high rates of corruption and low rates of accountability. According to Moussaoui, some key proposals of the ICPC have not yet been taken into account in the reform process. He believes “that [Morocco] must broaden the scope of sanctions to bribes, intermediaries, [and] to foreign public officials,”
The new reforms include: increase in the criminal liability of judges and public officials and the penalties for corruption have substantially increased. In addition, a judge who denounces and/or reports corruption, even if the judge him/herself is engaging in corrupt practices, does not risk prosecution.
Although the reforms to the penal code are following recommendations accorded by the ICPC and the Forum of Protection of Public Goods, both institutions agree that no action will be truly effective without a comprehensive national policy against corruption.