Budgetary and financial discipline
The Court performs a jurisdictional function concerning budgetary discipline. It specifies and sanctions any infringement to the regulations concerning the execution of the operations of public proceeds and expenses that would be committed by any official, clerk or agent of one of the organisms under its control authority.
Public accountants are required to produce annually to the Court, the accounts for the Public services and the accounting statements for the other bodies. In matters of budgetary and financial discipline, the Court operates like an ordinary Court of Justice with all that this requires as guarantees of rights of defence, the hearing of any person whose responsibility may be engaged, with the physical presence of the respondent concerned and of his lawyer at the trial session, in addition to summoning witnesses.
1. Referral to the Court :
The Court is seized by the King’s Attorney General, on his own initiative or at the request of the First President or a formation of the Court, in the event of the discovery of offenses which fall within the jurisdiction of the Court in matters of budgetary discipline and financial.
The referral can also be made by the Prime Minister, the President of one of the Chambers of Parliament, the Minister of Finance and the Ministers concerned and this through the intermediary of the King’s Attorney General at the Court of Auditors and on the basis control or inspection reports, supported by documents necessary.
2. Procedure used :
On the basis of the documents received and the information as well as other documents that might be requested from the competent authorities, the King’s Attorney General may decide:
- Either pursuit.
- Or the case is closed if he finds that there is no need to initiate proceedings; so, he takes a reasoned decision which is communicated to the party who submitted the case to him.
In the event of a prosecution, the King’s Attorney General requests from the First President, the appointment of a reporting counselor responsible for investigating the case.
The King’s Attorney General informs the persons concerned that they are the subject of proceedings before the Court and that they are authorized to be assisted in the rest of the process by an accredited solicitor approved in the Supreme Court.
The King’s Attorney General also informs of this prosecution, the Minister or the authority in which the civil official or the agent concerned is employed, the Minister in charge of Finance and, if necessary, the supervising Minister.
Investigation of the case by the Reporting Counselor :
- Once appointed, the Reporting Counselor receives the elements of the file and begins his investigation. The powers of the Reporting Counselor are very wide and according to the Law, he has the capacity to carry out all inquiries and investigations with all public or private bodies, to obtain all documents and to hear all persons whose responsibility would appear to be engaged, or all witnesses. The instruction is secret ; the Reporting Counselor is only required to inform the King’s Attorney General.
- At the end of the investigation, the Reporting Counselor communicates the file, accompanied by the investigation report to the King’s Attorney General, who submits his requisitions.
Consultation of the file by the person concerned :
- The person concerned is informed by the King’s Attorney General that he can, within 15 days following the notification, consult his file.
- This consultation, which is also permitted to the lawyer of the person concerned, takes place at the Registry of the Court. The person concerned can also obtain copies of the documents in the file. He then has 30 days, after consulting the file, to produce, if he wishes, a written brief either by himself or by his defence. The memorandum in question is then communicated to the King’s Attorney General. The person concerned may request the summons of witnesses of his choice.
3. Judgment hearing :
- Once the First President deems, after examining the file, that the case is ready to be judged, he orders that it be entered on the list of hearings of the Chamber competent in matters of budgetary and financial discipline.
- The hearing takes place as before any other Court of Justice: At the beginning of the hearing, the Reporting Counselor gives a summary reading of his report. The person concerned, either by himself or by his lawyer, is called upon to present his explanations and justifications.
- The King’s Attorney General gives his conclusions.
- The Court and the Attorney General may summon any person whose testimony they deem necessary; the same option is recognized for the person concerned, with the authorization of the President of the formation.
- The Court then retires to deliberate. The court formation is made up of 5 magistrates including the President of the formation and the Reporting Counselor. The decision is taken by majority vote.
- The Court renders its judgment within a maximum period of 2 months from the date of deliberation of the case, during a hearing to which the person concerned or his representative is summoned.
- The judgment is notified within two months following its delivery to the person concerned, to the Minister in charge of Finance, to the Minister concerned, to the King’s Attorney General, to the party who referred the case to the Court and to legal representatives of the organizations concerned.
4. Penalties :
The Court pronounces against persons who have committed one or more infringements mentioned, a fine whose amount calculated according to the seriousness and the repetitive nature of the infringement, cannot be less than one thousand (1000) dirhams per infringement. However, the amount of the fine per infringement may not exceed the net annual remuneration that the person concerned received on the date of the infringement. However, the cumulative amount of the aforementioned fines may not exceed four (4) times the annual amount of the said remuneration.
If the Court establishes that the infringements committed have caused a loss to one of the bodies subject to its control, it orders the person concerned to reimburse this body for the corresponding sums, in principal and. Interest is calculated according to the legal rate since the date of the infringement.
The person concerned and the witnesses who do not respond within the time limit set by the Court, to the requests for the handling of evidences and documents or to the summonses sent to them by the Court, or who refuse to swear or to witness, may be condemned by order of the First President to a fine of five hundred (500) to two thousand (2000) Dirhams.
The new Code of Financial Jurisdictions has established bridges between Budgetary and Financial Discipline and the criminal and disciplinary proceedings.