Not all corruption cases must go to full trial - Presidential anti-corruption committee | Nigeria News Today. Your online Nigerian Newspaper

The Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC) has recommended plea bargaining as an alternative means of settling corruption cases.

According to the report of the committee’s work, seen by TheCable, it was recommended that not all criminal cases should be prosecuted to finality.

Consequently, the Itse Sagay-led committee produced a manual on plea bargaining to guide prosecutors handling corruption cases.

“This manual is a guide to the decision-making process when considering alternative means of disposing of criminal allegations and plea-bargaining,” it said.

“Although not every criminal case should be prosecuted to finality through full trial if it can be resolved by alternative means, the manual mandates custodial sentence as part of the sentence no matter how short.”

The guidelines set out the procedure by which a prosecutor may conduct discussions with a suspect or defendant or their legal representative, and serve as a guide to all presiding judges who are presented with plea bargain agreements.

“The aim of plea-bargaining is usually for the defendant to enter into an arrangement or plead guilty in exchange for concessions by the prosecution, which may take the form of the offer of a plea by the defendant to some of the charges, a different offence or less serious charge or to one of multiple charges,” the committee said.

“The guidelines are to ensure that decisions on alternative means of disposing a case are taken with integrity, accountability, credibility and transparency embedded in them.”

‎In the report, the committee also said that it received 50 petitions from various petitioners. It said some of the petitions were against anti-corruption agencies.

“As of July 31, 2016, PACAC had received 50 petitions from various petitioners,” it said.

“The petitions cover a myriad of corruption-related issues, including alleged cases of fraud, misappropriation of funds, unlawful dismissals, etc.

“Some of the petitions also allege that the anti-corruption agencies are complicit or failed to act appropriately. All the petitions have been reviewed and most of them have been sent to relevant agencies for action, if so required.”

The committee, which President Muhammadu Buhari set up in August 2015, presented its report to the media in Abuja on Monday.

However, in his presentation,  Bolaji Owasanoye, executive secretary of the committee, explained that plea bargaining‎ did not mean that persons charged with corruption offences would not be prosecuted.

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