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Moroccan NGO calls for transparency in state spending

Moroccan NGO Transparency-Maroc (TM) pushes for greater transparency of public institution spending, peaceful demonstrations continue

AFP , Tuesday 26 Apr 2011
Thousands of people protest in Casablanca during a rally, Sunday, denouncing corruption, demanding better civil rights and demanding a new constitution, in accordance with the popular demands to bring more democracy into the North African kingdom, (AP).

The Transparency-Maroc (Morocco) Association on Tuesday called on all public institutions in the north African country to account for their spending and to accept inspections.

"We need to generalise the drawing up of accounts for all ... beneficiaries of public funds, particularly businesses and state bodies, as well as the Royal Armed Forces," the non-governmental organisation said in a memorandum.

The document, of which AFP obtained a copy, was sent by Transparency-Maroc to the commission for constitutional reform, set up by King Mohammed VI shortly after he gave a landmark speech on March 9, pledging major political reforms and a broadening of civil liberties.

In 2010, Morocco spent 138 million dollars (94 million euros) on weapons, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). The overall annual budget for weaponry is about 1.3 billion dollars and this sum is not subject to parliamentary debate.

"Change will come by breaking with the era of impunity as much in the matter of upholding fundamental rights as in enrichment by the abuse of authority," TM said in its memo to the commission.

Corruption and the connection between wealth and power are frequently denounced by the February 20 Movement, named after the date of the first countrywide protests that emerged amid a wave of demonstrations across the Arab world.

This movement, launched largely by young people, for the third time on Sunday held peaceful demonstrations in several towns in Morocco.

The commission for constitution reform is due to complete its work by June 15 and submit its work to the king the following day, one of its members told AFP.

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