Global Journal of Interdisciplinary Social Sciences
Open Access

ISSN: 2319-8834

+44 7480022681

Abstract

Plea Bargain and the Anti-Corruption Campaign in Nigeria

Linus Y.Akor

This paper interrogated the pros and cons of the application of plea bargain by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to recover looted funds from high profile corrupt public and private sector officials in Nigeria. This is against the groundswell of public outcry by many Nigerians among them, Justice Dahiru Musdapha, the immediate past Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN) and Senator David Mark, current President of the Nigerian Senate against this mode of punishment which is seen as a decoy by members of the political and business class to “tradeoff” their criminality by merely pleading guilty to corruption charges in exchange for lighter sentences. This study relied on secondary literature sources such as book, reports, newspapers, magazines and the internet for its data. Findings from the study indicated that the application of plea bargain in respect of very serious criminal cases bordering on corruption is tainted with a flavour of compromise. The study discovered that plea bargain is discriminatory against the poor in Nigeria who plead guilty to offences for which they were charged and treated summarily while the rich who plea-bargained were treated compassionately. It was further discovered that the use of plea bargain is haphazard without clear-cut parameters for effective implementation, assessment and appreciation. The paper recommends the immediate amendment of all existing laws on plea bargain to provide stiffer penalties for all categories of corrupt offenders. To effectively maximize the benefits of this approach to correction clear sentencing guidelines should be adopted to mitigate flagrant abuse by its operators in the nation’s criminal justice system. The implementation of plea bargain should be fair, just and equitable to enable it filter down to the average poor in Nigeria.

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