Maati Monjib and his sister Fatema are suspected of using an NGO as a cover for a money laundering scheme.
Rabat – “I am once again forced to go on a hunger strike to protest against police and judicial harassment against my family,” Moroccan historian and suspect in a major money laundering case Maati Monjib announced Sunday.
In a Facebook post, Monjib describes how he and his family have become the victims of “defamatory financial accusations.”
Last week, the public prosecutor at the Court of First Instance in Rabat named Monjib a suspect in money laundering crimes.
The Financial Information Processing Unit, affiliated to the Head of Government’s Office, published a list of large financial transfers and several real estate purchases. Their value did not match the declared revenue of Maati Monjib and his family members, prompting the opening of an official investigation.
“I am totally innocent of false and defamatory financial accusations and that I have never threatened state security—things that I am accused of without any proof,” he insisted on social media.
Monjib said his hunger strike will last three days and that his demands are simple.
He asks Moroccan authorities to stop the “police and judicial harassment against my sister” and stop “the very strong slander campaign against me and my sister.” His sister, Fatema Monjib, is the owner of several properties under investigation.
“If these claims, which are purely human, are not satisfied, I will be forced to start an unlimited hunger strike. Because life, liberty and dignity have the same value to me,” he wrote.
Monjib’s alleged money laundering scheme
The hunger strike declaration comes after a Moroccan outlet published a list of Maati and Fatema Monjib’s properties over the weekend.
Maati, a university professor, and Fatema, who is unemployed, apparently have millions of dirhams’ worth of real estate holdings. Critics allege the property is the result of money laundering through SARL Ibn Rochd Center, a “freedom of speech” NGO Maati established in 1990 with his sister as the sole other shareholder. When the Moroccan Court of Auditors began to look into the NGO’s finances in 2014, he dissolved the center and transferred its holdings to his relatives.
Maati Monjib’s properties include a house in Harhoura and apartments in Agadal and Benslimane, and at least eight plots of land. Fatema Monjib’s properties include three apartments in Benslimane and at least four plots of land.
The discrepancies between the properties’ value and the Monjib duo’s earnings caught the attention of the Financial Information Processing Unit, which opened an investigation into possible money laundering.
Scandal has followed Maati Monjib, a university professor and historian, for several years.
In 2015, he waged a hunger strike after Morocco issued a travel ban against him to investigate “financial violations” that occurred while he headed the Ibn Rochd Communication Institute.
Last year, he went on another hunger strike after the Institute of African Studies, where he teaches history, threatened to fire him. He accused the institute, which is affiliated to the Mohammed V University in Rabat, of wanting to dismiss him because of his support for the freedom of the press and his criticism of Moroccan authorities.
Maati Monjib reiterated this argument last week after the public prosecutor declared him a money laundering suspect. He said the accusations against him are “purely political” and intend to “weaken [his] position before national and international public opinion.”