Beirut, Lebanon – A Lebanese decide has filed corruption prices towards eight former high-ranking safety officers, together with an ex-army chief and the previous prime brass of military intelligence, two judicial sources aware of the matter stated.
The officers have been formally accused of “committing the crime of illicit enrichment and exploiting their official positions to accrue vast fortunes and sums, by using their influence and accepting bribes”, one of many sources, who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of they weren’t authorised to talk to the media, instructed Al Jazeera on Wednesday.
They have been additionally accused of “bringing officers into the Lebanese army in exchange for large sums of money and providing services to influential people in return for personal benefits”, the supply stated.
Those charged embody former armed forces Commander General Jean Kahwaji, who held his publish from 2008 until 2017, and ex-intelligence chiefs Edmond Fadl and Camille Daher, who have been in workplace from 2008 until 2016 and 2016 until 2017, respectively.
High-level prices towards a former military commander and intelligence heads are unprecedented in Lebanon, the place corruption is notoriously prevalent however accountability is elusive.
The 5 others charged are the previous head of Kahwaji’s workplace, Mohammad Jaafar al-Husseini, the previous head of military intelligence in Beirut, George Khamis, the previous head of military Intelligence in North Lebanon, Amer al-Hosn, retired Brigadier General Abdel-Rahman Shhaytli and a former officer in Lebanon’s General Security company, Ahmad al-Jamal.
A Lebanese military spokesperson declined to remark. A General Security spokesperson stated they’d no data to offer. Al Jazeera was unable to reach the eight defendants.
Tried in civilian courts
The prices are based mostly on preliminary investigations by Lebanon’s public prosecution workplace, which determined it had sufficient proof to file public prices, the second judicial supply instructed Al Jazeera.
The public prosecution relied amongst different issues on data offered by politicians, written and visible media reviews and different data on “large fortunes the defendants made during their time in office”.
Beirut Judge Ziad Abu Haidar filed the costs and transferred the case to Beirut Investigative Judge Charbel Abu Samra, who’s tasked with setting a date for interrogating the previous officers.
Under Lebanon’s Illicit Enrichment Law, the previous safety officers can be investigated and tried in civilian courts, quite than the Military Tribunal that’s the standard avenue for circumstances involving safety forces, the second supply stated.
The case towards seven former prime military officers is a blow to the picture of the Lebanese military, which is seen regionally as one of many few state establishments that aren’t pervaded by fraud.
The military is basically funded by the United States and different Western nations, and Kahwaji himself obtained coaching within the US, the United Kingdom, Italy and Sweden.
The prices additionally increase the problem of malpractice within the nation’s safety establishments at a time when many are calling for safety chiefs and different prime officers to be held accountable for an explosion at Beirut’s port in August that killed 200, wounded greater than 6,500 and wrecked giant components of the capital.
Judicial Investigator Fadi Sawan, the lead investigator in that case, has not filed prices towards safety chiefs regardless of them being conscious of the presence of extremely explosive materials on the port for a few years however didn’t take away it.
Sawan has arrested 25 and charged 33 low- and medium-level administrative and safety officers – many merely for his or her data of the fabric’s presence.
The military is straight involved with the disposal of explosive materials.
Kahwaji was the armed forces commander from the time the fabric entered the port in late 2013 until he was changed in 2017, however he has not been questioned by Sawan.
The first judicial supply stated Sawan had beforehand tried to convey Kahwaji in for questioning, however the former military chief was travelling on the time.