Following the option of plea bargain being offered to corruption criminals who are penitent by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Executive Chairman of the Coalition Against Corrupt Leaders, CACOL, Mr. Debo Adeniran has called for the details of what constitute the ‘plea bargain’ being offered to some suspects of corruption.
From news reports, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC is said to have offered the immediate past Chief of Air Staff, Air Marshal Adesola Amosu (retd.); a former Chief of Accounts and Budgeting in Nigerian Air Force, Air Vice Marshal Jacob Adigun; and a former Director of Finance and Budget, Air Commodore Olugbenga Gbadebo, to forfeit the 33 properties they allegedly bought with stolen funds.
With the offer by EFCC, the stage appears to be set for an apparent plea bargain arrangement to be formalized should the corruption suspects meet the conditions set by the anti-graft Commission.
Mr. Adeniran, in responding to the unfolding scenario, reiterated the position of CACOL, he said, “our Coalition has always insisted on punishing culprits of corruption to serve as deterrent to other corruption criminals and the potentially corrupt persons in the country. The non-application of punitive measures against persons guilty of corruption would make the whole anti-corruption war a huge joke, a waste of time, energy and resources.”
From reports, part of the conditions for the plea bargain given to accused persons, who are penitent is forfeiting the properties and pleading guilty, after which the EFCC would appeal to the court to temper justice with mercy.
While acknowledging the difference between penitent corruption criminals and recalcitrant ones, Adeniran said “it is correct to treat those who admit their guilt voluntarily and those that make the state to expend resources energy and time before their conviction is achieved differently, we agree to that extent. But our position is that those that opt for plea bargain should nonetheless not be allowed to go scot-free; they should hence be stripped of all their properties and monies as well as honours that could have been bestowed on some of them – they should be made to start life anew. All of their material possessions should be deemed as proceeds of corruption and therefore confiscated by the state. Then they can be told to ‘go and sin no more’.”
Continuing, he said, “as for the recalcitrant ones of should of course be made to face the full constitutional and judicial consequences of their crimes. They should be put in jail according to size of their loots, even up to life imprisonment.”
CACOL is suggesting life imprisonment for convicts that stole any amount above 1 billion naira, and they should be made to work diligently for their own upkeep via whatever skills they possess previously or has been able to learn behind the bars.
‘’They should be used as objects to educate the young, the youth and all when they go on excursion to the prisons, seeing former corrupt leaders in such situation will certainly serve to deter the potentially corrupt. Furthermore, whatever assets traced to such convicts should be deemed to be proceeds of corruption and confiscated by the Nigerian state.’’ The Executive Chairman of the Coalition concluded.
Wale Salami
Media Coordinator, CACOL
July 15, 2016
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