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Politics

Morocco : The Parliamentary mission on fuel prices at the heart of a new scandal

Two different reports on fuel prices have been leaked to media a few days before the Finance and Economic development Committee meets at the House of Representatives. While an anynomous source confirmed to Yabiladi that the two documents were made public by a member of the committee in charge of providing information on fuel prices, other sources have claimed the opposite.

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PJD politician Abdellah Bouanou who leads the Parliamentary mission on fuel prices./Ph. DR

Controversy erupted, Friday, on social media after two different reports drafted by the Parliamentary Committee in charge of providing information on fuel prices were leaked to media. The information emerged as several Moroccans have joined a boycott campaign on social media targeting three major products, including gas.

The leaked documents surfaced as the Finance and Economic development Committee in the House of Representatives is aiming to launch a debate on fuel prices on May the 15th, said the same body.

One member, two leaked versions

French-language magazine TelQuel and online newspaper Lakome published, Friday, an analysis based on the remarkable differences between two reports conducted by the parliamentary mission, headed by Abdellah Bouanou also serves as mayor of Meknes.

The final version of the report, which will be discussed by the committee in the Parliament Tuesday, is believed to have been significantly edited.

Yabiladi read both versions realizing that they were different. In other words, the first report has more than a hundred pages while the second version contains seventy.

A source close to the matter told Yabiladi Saturday, that a member form the parliamentary mission on fuel prices has allegedly leaked the two versions. «This member who was annoyed by the pressure put on the mission, has decided to leak the two reports», says the same source.

The latter explained in details that the mission's members wished to discuss, point by point, the whole report. A «strange» attempt knowing that parliamentarians generally discuss only the parts that have to do with their recommendations, says our source.

Contacted by Yabiladi, some of the committee's members explained on Saturday that they have no idea about a supposedly «initial version» of the report. Hanane Rihab, a member of the Socialist Union of Popular Forces (USFP) and the parliamentary mission on fuel prices told Yabiladi that «there is only one report and it is the one drafted on February the 28th and those who invented another report must be held accountable».

«Mr. Abdellah Bouanou, as the mission's chairman and Said Dour are the ones who ordered the lastest changes in the report. As for the other version you are talking about, each member had an initial report».

Denying allegations

Rihad recalled that the report has not been made public yet. «It was submitted to the House of Representatives on February the 28th and was voted for unanimously by the mission».

Hanane Rihab concludes by recalling that «it is the president of the parliamentary mission who must deny this information». Moreover, Yabiladi tried several times to reach Abdellah Bouanou in vain.

Jamal Karimi Benchekroun, a member of the Party of Progress and Socialism (PPS), and also a member of the mission, agreed with Rihab. He first asked Yabiladi about the two versions of the report before stating : «If it is the presidency of the mission that is behind this leak, it must tell people why there are two versions».

«Personally, as a member, I know that there is only one final report that was compiled by the mission, submitted to the Parliament and which will be discussed on Tuesday. After we finished our work, the report was officially submitted. If there are any changes that have been made to the initial report then they must have been created by people who want to block the procedure», says Jamal Karimi Benchekroun.

For his part, Naoufel Naciri from the Justice and Development Party (PJD) and the Finance and Economic development Committee who is also member of the mission headed by Abdellah Bouanou, explained : «when the report will be discussed in the Commission, I can comment on it but currently and ethically speaking, I cannot», he says.

«I have no idea about these versions, sincerely», concludes the elected official.

For the record, Lakome and TelQuel discussed on Friday the differences between the two reports that were drafted by the parliamentary mission.

«The evolution of the cost of the liter of fuel over the last two years has disappeared from the report (final, ed). (...) Did the Commission prefer to delete these elements from the final version of its report in view of their sensitive content?» Asked the French-language magazine. Lakome went even further saying that «a lot of important data has been removed from the final version, especially those related to the profits of companies operating in the sector».

If this censorship is confirmed, it calls into question the work of this mission as well as the role that the Parliament must play as an organ with legislative prerogatives and power check.

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