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Morocco cracks down on public procurement irregularities

Morocco cracks down on public procurement irregularities
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Morocco’s General Inspectorate of Finance has launched a wider investigation into “advance payments” for public contracts, seeking to reinforce transparency and integrity in public procurement.

This follows the refusal of disbursement orders for two projects, where advance payments for contractors were denied.

The source of the dispute lies in Article 5 of Decree No. 2.14.272, which regulates advance payments in public transactions and mandates a minimum advance of 10% (up to a maximum of 20 million dirhams) for projects under 10 million dirhams and 5% for larger projects.

This investigation stems from a rise in complaints filed by contractors with the Ministry of Economy and Finance (MEF) and the National Committee for Public Orders (NCPO). 

These complaints allege a decrease in advance payments and installment disbursements, which hinder project execution due to high project costs and financial strain on contractors.

The Inspectorate is examining the justifications for refusing advance payments in these two cases and their compliance with legal requirements.

Hespress sources revealed that the justification for refusal in these cases involved specific conditions outlined in tender documents, which may have led to project cancellations based on technicalities.

Due to their size, complex financing structures, and multiple parties’ involvement, some projects issue advance payments in installments.

The MEF and NCPO have also received reports of potential bid-rigging favoring smaller, newly established companies. This suggests that some companies rely on intermediaries, potentially disrupting project execution.

Disbursement officers defend their decisions by citing the unique nature of some contracts. These contracts often involve complex stages requiring strict timetables, necessitating a gradual release of funds based on project progress and contractor performance.

The GIF’s investigation aims to ensure transparency and integrity in public procurement. This includes addressing potential errors and enhancing administrative and technical capabilities within public institutions, ultimately facilitating efficient and high-quality project completion.

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