The draft law broadens the definition of corruption and grants more authority to the Council on Probity, Prevention and Fight against Corruption.
The Legislation Committee of the First Chamber of Parliament has completed a detailed review of the draft law on anti-corruption and the role of Morocco’s Council on Probity, Prevention and Fight against Corruption (INPPLC). The law will be adopted before the end of the current parliamentary session, which ends in early February.
One of the main novelties of the draft law is a broader definition of corruption. Currently, corruption is legally defined as “any crime of corruption, influence peddling, embezzlement, and misappropriation.”
The new anti-corruption bill broadens the definition to include offenses relating to criminal legislation, as well as all offenses relating to conflicts of interest, the activity of public administrations and bodies, and the misuse of public funds.
On the other hand, the bill seeks to define the responsibilities of the Council on Probity, Prevention and Fight against Corruption. By clarifying the council’s relationship with the government, the parliament, and the country’s courts, the bill seeks to ensure the principle of separation of powers.
The anti-corruption bill aims to strengthen the INPPLC as a governmental institution. It intends to help the council to fulfill its duties working alongside other public institutions, particularly in the area of preventive policy. The law extends the council’s duties to the development of a national strategy to disseminate values of integrity and to prevent corruption.
The bill gives the council an autonomous status and grants it the possibility to receive citizen complaints and to initiate investigations.
The text under study authorizes the members of the INPPLC or its commissioners to carry out investigations, conduct inquiries, and draft reports. They also have the power to make unannounced inspection visits to public institutions and law practitioners.
This is not permitted by the current law, which states that the INPPLC can only intervene at the request of the government or parliament.
The bill stirred controversy in the parliament. Parliamentarians and jurists criticized the power of the anti-corruption council to undertake investigations and inquiries that fall within the realm of the judiciary branch. Jurists fear that this is an encroachment on their authority.