Business Corruption in Morocco

Morocco flag - corruption

Corruption represents a problem for businesses in Morocco. Almost all sectors suffer from rampant corruption. Cultures of patronagenepotism and ‘wasta’ (the use of connections) exist, and inefficient government bureaucracy and excessive red tape deter investors. The legal framework concerning corruption, transparency and integrity is in place, and the regulatory system is becoming increasingly transparent. Under the Moroccon Criminal Code, active and passive bribery, extortion, influence peddling and abuse of office are illegal, but a law regulating conflicts of interest is still pending. Anti-corruption laws are reportedly not enforced effectively by the government. Prosecutions of corruption cases have been accused of targeting only petty corruption, and, allegedly, companies owned by highly influential persons are rarely disciplined. Facilitation payments and giving and receiving gifts are criminalised under Moroccan law, but businesses indicate the likelihood of encountering these practices is high. 

April 2015
GAN Integrity Solutions

Moroccan Judicial System

Morocco's judiciary is perceived to be corrupt and to lack independence. Businesses perceive the judiciary to be subject to influence from the executive and do not have confidence in the judiciary’s ability to settle disputes or to challenge government regulations (GCR 2014-2015). Corruption among working-level clerks in the courts constitutes a problem (HRR 2013). Most household respondents believe the judiciary is corrupt (GCB 2013). 

The lack of professionalism of Moroccan judges on general commercial matters constitutes an obstacle to effective dispute resolution, and Moroccan and foreign companies complain about the inefficiency and the lack of transparency in the judicial system (ICS 2014). As a result, foreign companies often settle disputes through arbitration instead of using local courts, so companies are advised to include arbitration clauses in all their contracts (ICS 2014). Morocco has signed the New York Convention (with reservations) and the Washington Convention, which provides for the use of the International Centre for the Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).

Moroccan Police

Morocco's police sector is rife with corruption and impunity, and this resulted in limited police effectiveness and respect of the rule of law. Investigations are carried out, yet they seldom result in criminal proceedings or even disciplinary action (HRR 2013). Companies report high-levels of corruption within the Moroccan police force (ICS 2014), and businesses do not feel that security forces can sufficiently protect companies from crime (GCR 2014-2015). Almost eight in ten citizens perceive the police to be corrupt (GCB 2013).

Moroccan Public Services

The Moroccan public services administration is opaque and difficult to navigate, obtaining routine permits can be difficult and the process of starting a company is not easy (GCR 2014-2015). Companies identify government bureaucracy as one of the main impediments to doing business in Morocco (GCR 2014-2015), yet the time and cost required to start a business and to deal with construction permits are lower than the regional averages (DB 2015).

The vast majority of Moroccans believe public officials and civil servants are corrupt (GCB 2013). Almost half of citizens report having paid a bribe to obtain a document or permit (AB 2013), and many believe regulations are unpredictably and inconsistently applied (BTI 2012).

Moroccan Land Administration

Property rights are well-defined and protected under Moroccan law, but rampant judicial corruption hampers the enforcement of property rights. Morocco's performance in protecting property rights is worse than the Middle East and North African average (BTI 2014). Businesses believe Morocco's legal framework does not adequately protect property rights (GCR 2014-2015), and the average time and cost required to register property is higher than the regional average (DB 2015). Businesses can access online land administration services on the Office for Industrial and Commercial Property site.

Moroccan Tax Administration

Morocco has improved its business environment through reforms that include changes to tax payments (DB 2014), but companies still perceive tax rates and regulations as problematic to operating in the country (GCR 2014-2015). The average time and cost required to pay taxes in Morocco is higher than the regional average (DB 2015), and one-third of Moroccans believe most tax officials are corrupt (AB 2013).

Moroccan Customs Administration

Corruption may be a problem within Morocco's customs administration due to the occurrence of irregular payments in the process of importing and exporting (GETR 2014). The government eased trading across borders by reducing the number of documents required to export goods, so the average time and cost required to trade across Morocco's borders is lower than the regional average (DB 2015). Businesses can access online customs services on the Administration of Customs and Indirect Taxes site.

Moroccan Public Procurement

Companies in Morocco indicate that public funds are sometimes diverted to companies, individuals or groups due to corruption, and government officials tend to show favouritism when deciding policies and contracts (GCR 2014-2015). The country's procurement sector is also plagued by patronage, and market competition is distorted by interference – especially by the royal family and the elite that control much of Morocco's economy. Companies controlled by these groups are more likely to be awarded government contracts (BTI 2014), so businesses are recommended to use a specialised public procurement due diligence tool to reduce corruption risks related to public procurement in Morocco.

The Government of Morocco passed two public procurement decrees in 2014 incorporating international best practice in the sector (PPRiM 2014). The reforms include creating a central public procurement policymaking body, establishing a national procurement training strategy, and developing a new national e-procurement system to simplify procurement procedures (PPRiM 2014). The decrees also provide for the creation of the ‘Commission Nationale de la Commande Publique’ (CNCP), an independent body responsible for handling company grievances. Unsuccessful bidders can instigate an official review of procurement decisions and can challenge procurement decisions in court. In one corruption case, a Moroccan MP was arrested while allegedly in the process of accepting a EUR 18,000 bribe at a café for the purpose of expediting payment on a public lighting contract (Magharebia, Jan. 2013).

Moroccan Natural Resources

The Government of Morocco has been criticised for a lack of effective resource governance, which has been mainly linked to an incomplete regulatory framework and insufficient disclosure policies (NRGI). Morocco is the world's largest exporter of phosphate, which is an industry controlled by the royal family and by the elite who monopolise larger, multi-sector industries and who are close associates to the monarch. These influential families enjoy undue advantages as they are most likely to win public bids and contracts, and they enjoy immunity for corrupt practices (BTI 2012). Corruption is also rampant in Morocco's sand quarrying industry, which is generally controlled by well-connected people with privileged access to natural resources (Morocco News Board, Feb. 2013).

Moroccan Legislation

The Moroccan Criminal Code criminalises corruption, active and passive bribery, giving and receiving gifts, attempted corruption, extortionbribing a foreign public official and abuse of office. Morocco has criminalised money laundering under the AML Law No. 43-05 (in French), which covers concealing and altering goods originating from trafficking, corruption, extortion, influence peddling and misappropriation of public and private property. Anti-corruption laws are not effectively enforced in Morocco, and government officials reportedly engage in corruption with impunity (HRR 2013). Morocco’s anti-corruption legislation provides for the compulsory disclosure of assets by government officials, but it does not provide for criminal or administrative sanctions for non-compliance (HRR 2013). Morocco has ratified the United Nations Convention against Corruption but is the only African country not to have signed the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption as it is not a part of the African Union. Access the Lexadin World Law Guide for a collection of legislation in Morocco.

Moroccan Civil Society

Morocco's Constitution guarantees freedom of the press, but there is ample room for the government to crack down on the media. The King and his government maintain considerable control over the press, and authorities may ban publications deemed offending and jail or fine journalists accused of defamation. State media publishes only content favourable to the monarchy and its achievements (BTI 2014). Authorities also control broadcast media and have the power to appoint the heads of all public radio and television stations (FotP 2014), so self-censorship occurs (HRR 2013). Press freedom has deteriorated in recent years, and several editors and journalists have been accused of defamation by the government (BTI 2014). The government also exerts control over the online media, and online content censorship is not uncommon (FotP 2014). Morocco’s press environment is described as 'not free' (FotP 2014).

Civil society is active in Morocco, and a large number of NGOs operate in the country. NGOs in Morocco operate with more freedom than in many other Arab states, but some complain that the government did not apply the approval process consistently (HRR 2013). The Ministry of Interior retains the right to dissolve associations, and organisations whose activities are deemed to offend the government face harassment from authorities (FotP 2014).

Moroccan Information Network

Partner Embassies  

Embassy of Denmark 

Tel: +212 (0)5 37 66 50 20
Fax: +212 (0)5 37 66 50 21


Embassy of Norway

Tel: +212 (0) 5 37 66 42 00


Embassy of Sweden

Tel: +212 537 63 32 10
Fax:+212 537 75 80 48

British Embassy

Tel: +212 (0) 537 633 333
Fax: +212 (0) 537 758 709


Embassy of Austria

Tel: +212 (0) 537 764 003/ 761 698 / 660 654
Fax: +212 (0) 537 765 425

Transparency Maroc National chapter of Transparency International.
Conféderation Générale des Entreprise du Maroc (CGEM) CGEM is a business association that defends its members' interests. It provides technical information and assistance and information to its members and promotes transparency and free competition.
The Arabian Alliance for Combating Corruption (AACC) The AACC is an alliance of CSOs dedicated to fight corruption. 

Network Against Corruption (NAC)


Ethical Customs Observatory/Private Sector

The NAC comprises 46 Moroccan NGOs, including Transparency Maroc, that have joined efforts to reduce corruption in the bureaucracy with support from government officials.


The Observatory was established as a public-private cooperation with the aim of analysing the compliance of the customs and private enterprises. Ethical principles and reform proposals are intended to enhance transparency and help to fight corruption within customs.


The Central Authority for the Prevention of Corruption (ICPC) 

The ICPC (Instance Centrale de Prévention de la Corruption) is Morocco's national anti-corruption agency. 

Moroccan Profile Sources