Transparency International conducted research throughout the MENA region, with 6,600 citizens from Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine, Sudan and Tunisia responding to the survey.
Rabat – Transparency International released yesterday, December 11, the results of the 2019 Global Corruption Barometer (GCB) – Middle East and North Africa. The survey examined citizens’ perceptions of electoral and government corruption in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Sudan, and Tunisia.
While the report found that 53% of Moroccans believe that institutional corruption is increasing, the kingdom did rank lower than Tunisia where 67% of citizens see corruption as a growing problem. Sudan topped the ranking at 82% with Jordan, Palestine, and Lebanon all appearing above Morocco on the list.
However, according to the survey, 74% of Moroccans believe that the government is not doing enough to tackle corruption and that politicians are actively involved in bribery and corrupt practice. Only Lebanon and Sudan ranked above Morocco, with 80% and 87% respectively.
“The handling of corruption cases reveals a gap between leaders’ promises and real action. According to the GCB results, one in four Moroccans think most or all judges, magistrates and police are involved in corruption,” the Transparency International report outlines.
The report went on to underline that: “With many court cases ignored by public authorities and some already drawn out judicial processes lengthened by unmotivated prosecutors, it is unsurprising to see why an overwhelming majority of citizens (74%) think that the government is not doing enough to tackle corruption and why 47% say they are not satisfied with the level of democracy in their country.”
In the section of the report focussing on Morocco, Transparency International gives the case study of the Casino Es Saadi case. According to the report “a local government official was allegedly bribed to cheaply sell municipal land to a business.”
“In 2015, after a trial in which Transparency Maroc, Transparency International’s chapter in Morocco, was a civil party, the official was sentenced to five years in prison.” An appeal is now in progress and the court has removed the original judges from the case.
The focus on Morocco section concludes by emphasizing that: “By undermining the vital pillars of democracy, including the judicial system, corruption can produce a vicious cycle, where corruption weakens democratic institutions, and in turn, the institutions are less able to control corruption.”
The report also examined bribery and found that 31% of Moroccan citizens have paid a bribe in the past 12 months. Compared to the rest of the MENA countries surveyed, Morocco fell in the middle. In Lebanon, 41% of citizens said they had paid a bribe, while in Jordan only 4% had paid bribes while using public services.
The results showed that across all countries surveyed, the police force was the most likely to take bribes. “The results show that the police have the highest bribery rate (22%) and are the public service most likely to demand and receive bribes,” the report outlined.
However, 49% of Moroccans believe that “ordinary people can make a difference in the fight against corruption.” In this section of the survey, Morocco fell behind Tunisia, Sudan, Palestine, and Jordan.
Across all of the countries surveyed, 58% believe reporting corruption in government or public service will lead to retaliation.
The report concludes by calling on MENA governments to “act and demonstrate serious political will against corruption.”
The international anti-corruption agency argued that: “Countries should fulfill their commitments to the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) as a first step. In addition, strong and independent judicial systems, as well as the proper separation of powers, are needed to promote anti-corruption efforts.”