Despite numerous political and economic reforms in recent years, corruption remains one of the most stubborn issues in Moroccan public administration.
Rabat – Bank Al Maghrib (BAM), Morocco’s central bank, has opened investigations to determine the circumstances that led to the strange loss of MAD 1.2 million from a heavily guarded cash convoy.
In a statement, BAM noted that the lost cash was taken from a cash-provision convoy. BAM regularly provides its services across Morocco with cash from the headquarters in Rabat.
The process entails a road trip by a specially—and heavily—guarded BAM delegation.
The convoy includes BAM workers accompanied by an important number of Royal Gendarmerie officers. The vehicles’ boots contain coffers of cash, with each coffer accommodating a thousand MAD 200 bank notes.
In the case of this particular reported incident, the BAM convoy was charged with providing cash to the “northern axis,” BAM’s code name for Northern Morocco. Tetouan was the delegation’s final destination, with stops in Kenitra, Larache, and Tangier.
The scam was discovered by authorities at the BAM agency in Tetouan.
Once the convoy reached its final destination, BAM Tetouan agents noticed a slight difference in the weight of the cash bags. Having concluded that the coffers were less heavy than usual, they decided to open each box and manually count the amount of cash it contained. After counting, they discovered that 1.2 were missing from the original amount.
The statement noted that BAM’s executive board and the Royal Gendarmerie are opening a joint investigation to “determine where responsibility lies” in this corruption scandal.
The announcement emphasized that those responsible for the odd occurrence will be held accountable as soon as further light is shed in the whereabouts of the missing cash.
It is also hoped, the announcement suggested, that the Tetouan episode might open the gates for investigations into similar cases that might have gone unnoticed in the past.
The news comes as Morocco faces a rising tide of corruption in public administration. For all its recent political reforms, the country has not particularly done well on the corruption front.
A major point of contention at the most recent national conference on taxation on May 4 was the deepening climate of mistrust in Morocco, especially between citizens and representatives of government institutions.
A major main takeaway from the national conference on taxation was the need to reclaim the trust of citizens.
One speaker at the national event pointed out that the “confidence pact” between Moroccan authorities and citizens has reached such a low level that most Moroccans tend to perceive government representatives as either ineffective or “potential cheaters.”