Police are still searching for three other suspects they believe are involved in prostitution.
Judicial police in Beni Mellal, central Morocco, opened an investigation on Tuesday evening into two police officers who allegedly accepted a bribe from a suspected prostitute.
The investigation followed a tip to national security services suggesting that the two police officers — a peace officer and senior police inspector — were involved in a case of corruption.
According to Morocco’s General Directorate of National Security (DGSN), the two police officers under investigation allegedly accepted a bribe from a woman while arresting her on suspicion of prostitution in a tourist circuit in Beni Mellal.
In exchange for the bribe, the officers did not proceed with the arrest.
Beni Mellal’s judicial police “reacted immediately” to the tip and arrested the two officers.
Morocco’s DGSN reported that the officers were in possession of a sum of money that police believe to be the bribe from the suspected prostitute.
Police also arrested the woman in question.
The three suspects are in police custody pending an investigation.
Beni Mellal police are conducting the investigation under the supervision of the competent public prosecutor’s office to determine the circumstances of the case.
Meanwhile, searches are ongoing to arrest three other individuals who were with the suspected prostitute during her arrest. Police believe the three on-the-run suspects, of whom two are women, may also be involved in prostitution.
The DGSN has temporarily suspended the two police officers from their duties pending the end of legal proceedings. Upon completion of the investigation, the DGSN vowed to take the “necessary disciplinary sanctions and administrative decisions” regarding the two officers.
Bribes concerning police and other government institutions are not uncommon in Morocco, where corruption is a known issue. In December 2019, a study by Transparency International revealed that 31% of Moroccans reported having paid a bribe between 2018 and 2019.
The study added that 74% of Moroccans believe that politicians are actively involved in bribery and corrupt practices. More than half of the survey respondents (53%) said they believe institutional corruption is increasing.
While the majority of the survey’s respondents do not believe the government is doing enough to tackle corruption in Morocco, officials have said in recent months that tackling corruption is a top priority.
In June, Morocco’s Government Council approved Bill 46-19 on the National Authority for Probity, Prevention, and the Fight Against Corruption (INPPLC).
The bill aims to consolidate the role of the INPPLC as a national governance institution that fulfills its duties in coordination with public authorities and institutions.