The current government has become so enmeshed within its own corruption that it has left itself incapable of effectively combating public sector graft, a leading opposition figure has alleged.
Speaking on JawharaFM, the Secretary General of Tounes Al Irada ( Tunisian Will) Adnene Mansour accused wat described as a ‘significant number’ of ministers and deputies of being involved in, or linked to corruption.
According to a recent report by anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International detailing the spread of graft throughout the MENA region, Tunisia has witnessed a 42 percent increase in the level of corruption over the last year.
According to the report, 62 percent of Tunisians regard the government as having failed in their public fight against corruption. 26 percent of Tunisians regard the police force as corrupt, rising to 31 percent when asked about the political class. 71 percent of Tunisians believed that they, as private citizens, ad a role to play in the battle against corruption
Speaking to Tunisia Live, Intissar Arfaoui, Legal Director at Iwatch, Transparency International’s Tunisian affiliate, said, “Corruption has spread to all the state’s institutions even the courts. However reported instances are at their highest amongst the security and health sectors, as these are the areas citizens have the most regular contact with.”
Iwatch have proposed a bill protecting whistle-blowers who inform on corrupt behaviour. In the bill, corruption in defined as the misuse of power or authority to obtain material or moral gain. It also includes bribery, in both private and public sectors, stealing public wealth, exceeding the limits of an official’s authority and money laundering.
In comments to ShemsFM on Wednesday, the President of the Tunisian Association for the fight against corruption, Missaoui Ibrahim said his association had received details of some 971 employees who had all been subject to harassment, and even prosecution after they had reported corruption.
Though it was proposed some time ago, the bill has still to be approved by parliament. “This is a project that Iwatch, along with other organizations have been working on since 2011.” Arfaoui said, “Each government gives fake promises and never implements it.”
However, following the naming of a number of leading political and public figures in the Panama Papers, being seen as failing to act on the country’s mounting corruption has become politically impossible. Following renewed pressure from IWatch and a variety of other Civil Society organisations, “the government has been pressured into legislating in this area.” Intissar Arfaoui added.
In the last week, a viral video has shown a Tunisian police officer in the governorate of, asking a Libyan and his wife for a bribe in order to ensure their release. After some days, the policeman was eventually suspended.