Morocco faces a number of socio-political challenges, including the occurrence of both petty and grand corruption in economic as well as political arenas. The general public believes that politicians are corrupt and merely in search of personal gain, which has led to deep public mistrust in the political system. In February and March 2011, thousands of Moroccans took to the streets of Moroccan cities, demanding an end to corruption, reforms to fight unemployment in the country, better civil rights, and also a reduction in the power of the incumbent King Mohammed VI. In March 2011, the King promised reforms, and as a consequence of the uprisings during the Arab Spring, the King held parliamentary elections, originally scheduled for 2012, in November 2011. The outcome of the elections reflected voters' dissatisfaction with unemployment and corruption, as the majority of seats went to the largest government opposition, the Justice and Development Party. In addition, the Parliament also in October 2011 passed a landmark law to protect trial witnesses and experts, as well as whistle-blowers.
An anti-corruption campaign carried out in 2001 revealed corruption and embezzlement in banking, social security, agricultural credits, public housing, state contracts, public companies, municipal councils, and even international aid projects. However, a December 2010 article by The Guardian argues, citing a leaked US Embassy report, that corrupt practices have become 'much more institutionalised' under King Mohammed VI, and that the royal family has been using public institutions to 'coerce and solicit bribes'. According to the article, this type of corruption particularly affects the real estate sector. Furthermore, significant drug trafficking in northern Morocco is conducive to corruption, and drug lords successfully bribe the police, judges and high-level officials within the security and customs services in order to smuggle drugs to Europe.
The problem of corruption in Morocco has been well publicised, and the country's outspoken media, civil society and successive governments have advocated launching a fight against corruption. This has led to the ratification of the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC) in 2007 and the creation of an anti-corruption commission (the ICPC, in French) in December 2008. However, the ICPC is not entitled to investigate and prosecute corruption cases, and therefore its efficiency is not limited, according to the Bertelsmann Foundation 2012. According to a January 2010 article by Magharebia, the Minister for Public Sector Modernisation had set up an inter-ministerial committee to oversee government actions against corruption. The committee has presented a series of recommendations, such as creating a hotline to receive complaints on corruption and developing a code of conduct for civil servants. The government has also carried out investigations against officials, many of which resulted in convictions. Nevertheless, these measures have been criticised of only targeting petty corruption. Also high profile cases and political cases have been promptly halted in order to avoid political embarrassment. In effect, the US Department of State 2011 reports that corruption is considered a serious problem in all branches of the government. Transparency International's National Integrity System Morocco 2009 reports that the country has no law regulating conflict of interests between a minister's official functions and private activities. Currently, a conflict of interest law is working its way through the legislative process, according to the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative. Ministers and parliamentarians are obliged to declare their assets, but declarations are not publicly available. According to Transparency International's Global Corruption Barometer 2010/2011, only 18% of the surveyed households consider the government's efforts in fighting corruption as effective. The surveyed households also identify public officials/civil servants as the most corrupt sector in Morocco, with more than 18.4% of the surveyed households consider this sector to be 'extremely corrupt'.