'I am rich and paid for my son': Moroccan justice minister under fire for 'nepotism', 'classism'
A 'nepotism babies' scandal has rocked the Moroccan ministry of justice, driving dozens of law graduates to protest what they described as a 'rigged' bar exam and call for an urgent investigation.
"The results of this exam were a reflection of nepotism and corruption in the Moroccan institutions. They destroyed our future," Oumaima, a Moroccan law graduate, told The New Arab.
The scandal first erupted over the weekend after social media users pointed out that several candidates who passed the bar exam had the last name of 'Ouahbi', which is - coincidentally - also the last name of Moroccan minister of justice Abdellatif Ouahbi.
One of the candidates who passed the highly selective exam is the minister's son. The rest of the 2,081 candidates list was largely dominated by family names of famous Moroccan lawyers and employees in the justice ministry.
More than 70,000 law graduates applied for the bar exam.
In defence of himself and his ministry, the Moroccan minister of justice spoke to journalists Monday against what he called "false allegations".
"The decision has been taken. The minister of justice decides, not Facebook posts. There are more than forty families that have the name of Wehbi in Morocco," the Moroccan minister told the reporters.
"(…) My son has two bachelors and studied in Canada. (…) his father is rich and paid for his studies in Montreal," the Moroccan minister justified his son's success.
The minister's 'classist' statements further inflamed the situation.
On Tuesday, dozens of Moroccan law graduates gathered in front of the Moroccan parliament in the capital Rabat calling for an urgent investigation and an apology from minister Ouahbi.
"Our parents are not rich and we studied in Moroccan universities which, by the way, a minister from his party is in charge of the ministry of [higher] education. The classicist and defensive tone prove that there's something fishy about this exam," said Oumaima as she broke into tears.
Oumaima, a graduate from a Moroccan law university, and dozens of her colleagues said they felt offended and humiliated hearing the minister's 'bragging' about his son's 'foreign' education.
In his last public appearance, the Moroccan minister of justice apologised for his 'classist statements. Though, he stressed that no investigation will be open into the bar exam's results.
"We started believing in this country when Reguragui [Morocco's football team coach] told us to make Niya [the intention in one's heart to do an act for the sake of God or nation]. But Niya is not enough in this country. You need to have powerful and rich parents," Noor, a Moroccan law graduate from Rabat's university, told TNA.
On Wednesday, local media said the lists of those admitted to the exam included the name of Moulay Said Al-Sharafi, the Director of Equipment and Property Management at the Ministry of Justice, who was also a member of the supervision committee of the bar exam.
For his part, Moulay Said Al-Sharafi told the Moroccan website Hespress that he asked to be excused from his tasks on the committee so that he could participate in the bar exam.
The Moroccan League for the Defense of Human Rights has asked the Court of Cassation to open an investigation into the results, vowing to investigate the truth behind the nepotism scandal.