Moroccan fruit seller fights corruption

One year after the death of Mohamed Bouazizi, Transparency Maroc has honoured another market vendor, Mourad Kartoumi, for his contribution to fighting corruption. Transparency International’s press intern Rosie Slater tells his story.

It will be a year ago tomorrow that Mohamed Bouazizi, a Tunisian vegetable seller, set himself on fire. Our vice chair Akere Muna paid tribute to his sacrifice in a recent speech. Bouazizi’s actions were the catalyst for the uprisings that came to be known as the Arab Spring, protests proving that the people can topple corrupt rulers.

Later in 2011, Transparency Morocco presents its integrity prize to Mourad Kartoumi (left), a Moroccan fruit vendor who challenged corrupt local officials.

It is fitting then that a market vendor from neighbouring Morocco was presented with an Integrity Award last week on Anti-Corruption Day, by our chapter Transparency Maroc.

Mourad Kartoumi has struggled tirelessly to expose deeply entrenched corruption in his workplace, a wholesale fruit and vegetable market in Casablanca. For the past ten years, he has put his livelihood and even his personal security at risk by speaking up loud and clear whilst others remained silent.

Kartoumi was the one who publicly revealed the extent of corruption at the market, which he described as a “theatre of financial crime.” In a legal complaint in 2010, he openly accused the director of the market of falsifying financial documents from lorry drivers, altering balance sheets handed in by vendors and farmers, and embezzling funds. According to reports, the market suffered estimated losses of several million dirhams. After Kartoumi’s allegations, a media storm ensued.

The mayor and other elected officials were implicated in the scandal. For reasons that remain unclear, the investigation was delayed and has yet to be concluded. According to Transparency Maroc, “the accusations have not received the follow up that they merit from the authorities.” A hearing is scheduled for December 20. In spite of these setbacks, Kartoumi never gave up. His struggles may have been met with deafening silence from the authorities, but they resonated with the Moroccan public, media and civil society.

Kartoumi’s story shows the difference that just one citizen can make when he or she takes a stand against corruption. Transparency Maroc hopes that his award will inspire others to come forward and join the fight for a fairer society.

Honouring the unsung heroes of the fight against corruption like Kartoumi is the idea behind our Integrity Awards, given at the global and national level – you can find out more about them here.

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Rosie Slater

About Rosie Slater

Rosie Slater is Communications Officer in the Communications Department at Transparency International.

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11 Responses to Moroccan fruit seller fights corruption

  1. Pearl Inwang 17 December 2011 at 9:03 pm #

    One day i wish i should wake up with the news of sub sahara African spring were our brothers and sisters in countries like Cameroun,Uganda,Equitorial Guinea,Zimbabwe etc….will be free from long serving dictatorship.

  2. Dimitriy 17 December 2011 at 9:31 pm #

    Bandits and lazy people heading for revolution. It makes interested people keep all under control, including deep poverty in African countries. Wake up and understand better what’s going on ! Wake up, strive for studies, grow up your children in kindness and good mood, change yourself. Don’t be naive – Arab spring was ordered by group of interested people outside, and they reached their objective.

  3. Mohssin Faraji 30 March 2012 at 11:58 am #

    My Name is Mohssin Faraji we live in the United Kingdom my farther is Mustapha Faraji, I write this letter again hopping you can help our family from a great injustice, parts of this letter is duplicated in order to refresh the subject.

    My Family have been living on this land for 60 years and now could be forced off their land by Deception and corruption.

    This is critically distressing my father’s health and I only fear the worst if this Injustice continues,

    As a family we have always visit Morocco every year to see our extended family, but now my family in Morocco and our home since 1948 is threaten by deception, corruption.

    I can only plead for your intervention in this grave matter, as it is a pain in our hearts and minds.

    I myself my brother and sister wonder what type of future can we have for our children in our motherland, how can we invest in our nation when my farther has invested his life to his country only to have it taken away by corrupted and deceptive elements?

    This has affected my father’s mental and physical state, because he fears going to Morocco due to the bullying and harassments tactics of the named Individual and his associates.

    This Person has cruelly and insensitively deceived and prey on our family for ten years, with an aim to drive us out of our homes for fraudulent profit and greed.

    This person has used police official more than twice to arrest and question, aunties from their homes in order to create a fear, this included our dementia suffering Grandmother of the age of 90 + years, there is no level of how low this individual will go for greed.

    It’s rumored Mohammed Bn Mohammed Bl Haj has history working at the ANCFCC at Tleta Rissana, which gave him an insight on how things worked, The question is how can an Employee of ANCFCC amount such wealth or anyone amount such wealth without a trail. The Tangier court should follow the money, and look into his crooked dealings.

    He has pursued us for years and has bribed everyone from solicitors to ANCFCC Employees.
    So far there is a retrial thanks to your efforts, On the 18th January 2012 we had a visit to our home by the Tangier Court delegation asking questions about the case and the situation, but I fear the worst as soon as the Delegation stopped for breakfast, Mohammed BN Mohammed Bl Haj chased after them offering breakfast and a chat, which the judge

    This person is totally a greedy dishonest inhuman Con artist with only one direction to cheat the system using bribes and scams, to reach his goals of playing the system and creating his own justice that serve his ambitions.

    We find are self in a position that we cannot even trust our own lawyers and we have a list of them.

    I again plead for Justice and fair play for my family whom endured 10 years of bullying and harassments by the Individual and his associates.

    We have been stop from ( hafiding ) our remaining land thanks to Mohammed Bn Mohammed Bl Haj friends in ANCFCC Larache.

    This is a human rights violation and hope the Government of Morocco stop this Injustice on our family, my cousin Nourdine lost the use of his eye while serving for his country in the Sahara, and for thanks his mother is subjected to Mohammed Bn Mohammed Bl Haj Personnel Rule of law, this is an invasion on our Human Rights, I plead once again for Justice and Mohammed Bn Mohammed Bl Haj to be investigated by Neutral law enforcement.

    It’s Very simple to find out the reality if you look at the history there is no proof he has paid for the land there is no proof he has paid a penny for our land only forgeries made by his associate in the ANCFCC.

    Everything that I have said can be collaborated in Documents submitted with this letter, you can also go online

  4. Rosie Slater
    Rosie 30 March 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Hello Mohssin,

    We have a chapter in Morocco called Transparency Maroc: http://www.transparencymaroc.ma/

    The chapter run Advocacy and Legal Advice Centres (called ALACs, or CAJACs in French – Centre d’Assistance Juridique Anti-Corruption).

    These centres provide free and confidential legal advice to witnesses and victims of corruption. The centre in Morocco can be reached via email on cpcajac@transparencymaroc.ma.

    You can find more contact details on Transparency Maroc’s website (in French), including telephone numbers (http://www.transparencymaroc.ma/projet-2-Fr.html) and addresses (http://www.transparencymaroc.ma/contact-Fr.html) for the centres in Rabat, Fes and Nador.

    I hope this is helpful.

  5. Mohssin Faraji 29 November 2012 at 6:36 pm #

    Thanks Rosie,

  6. Mohssin Faraji 29 November 2012 at 6:43 pm #

    To be fair, I have already tried contacting them. I only got a reference number and that was that Rosie.

  7. Mohssin Faraji 29 November 2012 at 6:46 pm #

    I Can even forward the email to you if you like just email me and i will reply back with the emails.

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