Home VOL. 3 (2017) Punishment Patterns and Plea Bargaining Associated with Economic and Financial Crimes: The...

Punishment Patterns and Plea Bargaining Associated with Economic and Financial Crimes: The Nigerian Experience

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Abstract

In terms of natural resources, that is to say, human and material, Nigeria by far exceeds countries like, Britain, France, Germany, Japan and perhaps many other G20 nations of the world. By natural resources in this context, we mean population and minerals. Notwithstanding this, the country still ranks amongst the poorest nations in the world going by the United Nations millennium development goals indices. Most attempts at unraveling the cause of this paradox have ended in postulations that it must be the weakness or absence of the rule of law. That is to say, absence or weakness of some of the essential ingredients of that magic phrase “the rule of law”. Surely, there is some measure of democracy that is if that term were narrowly construed to mean the occasional appearance of ballot boxes, the purported casting of votes and the existence of the notion of separation of governmental powers. These certainly exist in Nigeria and that has been so for sometime now, a presidency, a bicameral legislature and a judiciary all of which combine to give the notion of separation of powers. The argument therefore appears to be that the only thing that is absent from the Nigerian clime is the rule of law particularly as regards crime deterrence through punishment. This paper exemplifies the impunity with which the rule of law is violated by persons in government as well as fiduciary and privileged positions in both the public and private sectors in Nigeria. These impunities have come to be recognized by law as ‘’economic crimes’’. The paper contrasts the level of detection and punishment for such crimes with their magnitude in terms of amounts involved. This is done against the backdrop of punishment patterns and in particular, the emerging notion of plea bargaining. In the end the paper regrets the results of the practical application of this notion. It concludes that the scope and application of the doctrine of plea bargaining to the jurisprudence of crime detection and prevention in Nigeria has not achieved its desired objective of deterrence and crime reduction.

Authors: Ayuba Omokhuwa Giwa