In June 2017, police found MAD 17 million in cash in the former official’s house.
Rabat – The appeal court of Casablanca has sentenced Zine El Abidine El Howas, the former mayor of Had Soualem, a town near Casablanca, to seven years in prison. The court judged the former official guilty of corruption, waste of public funds, and embezzlement on Monday, November 4.
The court sentenced the other defendants in the case, also former officials in the Had Soualem municipality, to prison for between one and two years depending on the severity of their crimes.
Police arrested El Howas in June 2017. The former mayor possessed around MAD 170 million in cash at his home. He participated in various corrupt acts.
El Howas awarded a contract for a municipality plan, valued at MAD 800 million, without a call for bids. He also exploited the region’s resources by removing dozens of eucalyptus trees that decorated a public road to use them as fuel in four hammams (public baths) that he owns.
Corruption is one of the major problems that hinder Morocco’s economic development.
In July 2018, Head of Government Saad Eddine El Othmani said that corruption wastes approximately 7% of Morocco’s GDP every year, suggesting that the most effective way to deal with Morocco’s enduring economic and social problems is to fight corruption in public administration.
In May 2018, the Moroccan government launched an anti-corruption hotline. The initiative implemented the government’s national plan to end all forms of corruption by 2050.
Since its launch, the hotline has received several calls and complaints concerning public employees.