Court of Auditors: Officials Escape Sanctions Thanks to the Statute of Limitations

Officials prosecuted in matters of budgetary and financial discipline were sentenced by the Court to fines of up to 200,000 MAD. Others have escaped sanctions thanks to the statute of limitations.

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Officials prosecuted in matters of budgetary and financial discipline were sentenced by the Court to fines of up to 200,000 MAD. Others have escaped sanctions thanks to the statute of limitations.

According to article 107 of law 62.99 forming the code of financial jurisdictions, offenses which are not discovered by the Court of Auditors or by any competent authority within a period of 5 years, from the date on which they were committed, fall under the statute of limitations.

In 2019, several people prosecuted in matters of budgetary and financial discipline were sentenced by the Court to fines ranging from 1,000 to 200,000 MAD. Others, officials in public establishments, escaped sanctions since the offenses they committed were time-barred at the time the prosecution was launched.

The judgment of February 21th, 2019, rendered by the budgetary and financial discipline chamber of the Court of Auditors, concerns the case of an official appointed to head the human resources and public affairs management service within the delegation of Moulay Yacoub, of the Regional Academy of Education and Training (AREF) of Fès-Boulemane.

On July 6th, 2017, the first president of the Court of Auditors transmits to the public prosecutor the report of the preliminary investigation on the management of public contracts requested by the regional academy.

Subsequently, proceedings were brought against the said official for non-compliance with the special conditions provided for in three agreements concluded on November 23rd, 2011, between the regional academy and companies.

The purpose of these agreements is to provide schools under the AREF of Fès-Boulemane with educational material for teaching physics and chemistry.

The first agreement concerns 122 items of equipment with a value exceeding 778,000 MAD. Those acquired under the second agreement (161) are worth more than one million DH and the third agreement aims to acquire 68 pieces of equipment for a price slightly less than 600,000 MAD.

The preliminary investigation report reveals that part (60) of the 351 items of equipment received, does not meet the technical criteria provided for in the special conditions of the 3 agreements. In addition, they are considered to be of “low quality”.

However, these shortcomings were not noted when the teaching material was received. On the contrary, reports attesting to the good receipt of the equipment ordered were signed, on May 20th and July 3rd, of 2012, by the members of a committee to which the person in charge is under prosecution.

The Court considers that the fact of not having verified, on reception, the conformity of this equipment with the conditions laid down in the contracts, does indeed constitute an infringement falling within the field of budgetary and financial discipline.

That said, given that the reception reports were signed on May 20th and July 3rd, 2012 and that the prosecution was not initiated until July 6th, 2017, the Court declares that “the offenses committed by the person responsible fall under the stroke of the prescription in accordance with article 107 of law 62.99 ”.

Within the same regional academy, two other officials prosecuted for similar facts also escaped sanctions since the offenses committed were also time-barred. They too had signed reports attesting to the good receipt of equipment for the teaching of scientific subjects and mobile laboratories for the benefit of schools, but the material received did not correspond to the technical criteria initially planned.

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