Special courts : Looters consider plea bargaining as escape route | Ripples Nigeria
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Special courts : Looters consider plea bargaining as escape route

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By Ali Smart…
The directive by President Muhamadu Buhari to set up special courts to try former public officials suspected to have enriched themselves by dipping their hands into the public till has inspired fear in the hearts of many.
Ripples gathered that some key players in the last administration may have been initiating moves, aimed at securing what they preferred to call “safe-landing” either by themselves, or by proxy.
An insider in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) confided in Ripples that among the moves being made by those likely to be tried include plea bargaining among others.
According to another party source, a good number of the lobbyists had served in the petroleum ministry and some of its agencies in the last administration.
Also said to be on the lobby list are certain former operators at the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), the Federal Revenue Board, and some maritime agencies among others.
Recent media reports indicated that the federal government was in the process of initiating a bill for the establishment of special courts to try corruption cases.
But there are fears among some Nigerians that the bill may not easily scale through at the National Assembly.
Analysts said at the weekend that it would be difficult for the law makers to come out openly to oppose the bill, judging by the prevailing mood within and outside the country.

Read also: ‘Looters must be prosecuted and jailed’

Reports of massive looting of the public till had erupted shortly after Buhari assumed office on May 29.
It is also reported that the President might have, through the National Judicial Council (NJC), directed the screening of judges that will serve in the proposed courts, with a view to picking the least controversial ones.
Revenues were said to have leaked through lapses, corruption and impunity under the last administration, with some sources quoting about N6.4billion national loss in some of these key ministries and agencies.

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