Collective land affected by land predation. The wali of the Marrakech-Safi region sounds the alarm in a recent note addressed to local elected officials, including Fatima-Zahra Mansouri, the mayor of the ocher city.
The letter, of which Médias24 has a copy, mentions “repeated illegal transactions” aimed at the “cession or renunciation” of properties of Soulalyate communities located in the province of Marrakech.
For the beneficiary of a right of enjoyment, giving up this type of property can only take place for the benefit of a member of the community. As for the sale to third parties, it follows a specific procedure. Detailed in Law 62.17 relating to the administrative supervision of Soulaliyate communities, it involves the launch of a call for tenders, the development of specifications and the validation of the central supervisory council, a body piloted by the Minister inside.
The non-observance of these steps generates the nullity of the operation, but also criminal sanctions against the transferor and also against any person who, in any capacity whatsoever, “participated in the preparation of documents relating to the transfer or renunciation of these properties”, recalls the wali Karim Kassi- Lahlu.
For these acts, the penalties incurred range from 1 to 5 years in prison. This does not prevent more severe sanctions, precisely in the event of “false”, a classic offense in this category of files.
Lawyers’ contracts, a privileged tool of predation
For several years, the Ministry of the Interior has initiated a major revision of the texts governing collective land. The objective is to protect these assets of strategic importance. In Morocco, these lands extend over more than 15 million hectares, including 2 million of cropland, 1.63 million in bour areas and more than 300,000 ha in irrigated perimeters. An important land reserve that the State strives to mobilize and develop.
However, the “violations” noted “negatively impact the efforts made by the State for the management of the affairs of the Soulalyate communities (12 million rights holders) and their heritage”, deplores the wali.
Behind the sober tone of the note, a phenomenon of great gravity. The subject has already been the subject of security reports, the conclusions of which were timidly touched upon in a previous circular from the Ministry of Justice. This exit had pinned the contracts of lawyers as a tool making it possible to circumvent the procedure, laborious, of transfer of the collective lands.
According to the same conclusions, a large part of the illegal transfers of properties are carried out by lawyers approved by the Court of Cassation, who play a loophole in article 4 of the Code of real rights.
Since 2011, this text provides that “all acts relating to the transfer of ownership or the creation of other real rights or their assignment, modification or deletion must – under penalty of nullity – be established by official act or by act on a certain date, by a lawyer approved by the Court of Cassation, unless otherwise provided by law”.
Affixed in these contracts, the signatures of the parties are subject to simple authentication by the local authorities. That of the lawyer is subject to validation by the registry. Verification channels that have demonstrated their limits. And which give rise to all kinds of abuse, as this study revealed by Médias24 points out.
It is also to the authorities involved in the authentication of signatures that the wali sends a message. That of rejecting any contract relating to the transfer or renunciation of real estate belonging to a Soulalyate community.