Sunday, March 13, 2016

Where should this case be tried?

A massive case of procurement fraud has gripped Nigeria. According to this account, among the suspects are a number of former high-ranking officers. Where should they be tried? Apparently, this is a decision for the country's president to make. Does the fact that the armed forces were victims make it more or less appropriate for the cases to be tried in a military court? Does the fact that the accused may be very senior officers raise a question about whether the military will be in a position to afford them a fair trial? Excerpt:
A competent government source confided in our correspondent on Sunday that military authorities had sought the President’s permission for the officers to be prosecuted under the Armed Forces Act. 
He said the position of the military was that the Armed Forces Act had made provision for such infractions on the part of military men and how to handle their cases.
He added that it was the belief of the military that if the indicted officers were tried using the military rule, it would be better than when they were prosecuted by the regular court. 
The source said the argument for military trial for the officers was further strengthened by the fact that the money, which is the subject of the investigation, was meant for the procurement of arms for the Nigerian Armed Forces. 
He said, “The military authorities have suggested to the Federal Government that all serving officers, found culpable in the ongoing investigation into the arms procurement scandal, be tried under the Armed Forces Act rather than being tried in regular courts."

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