(Department of Private Law, Faculty of Law, University of Uyo, 2016) Bello, Akeem
The article reviewed economic and financial crimes cases settled through plea bargaining in Nigeria. The sentences imposed by the courts after plea agreements were generally perceived as grossly inadequate and a mockery of justice. The article reviewed the sentences, practice of plea bargaining and issues generated by the cases. It explores options of regulating plea bargaining in order to ensure that it produces fair and acceptable results drawing insights from other jurisdictions. The paper found that contrary to the claim that plea bargain is vaccination against punishment, a legal framework that sets out the ground rules and define the role of the parties can ensure that it is conducted fairly and in the public interest. The article further found that Sentencing and Prosecutorial Guidelines also have the potentials to prevent abuse of plea bargaining by judges, prosecutor and defence counsel and recommends their adoption.