Lebanon state prosecutor for appeals Judge Ziad Abu Haidar, has charged eight high-ranking military officers on Wednesday, 1 December, with illicit enrichment, including former Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji and former Army Intelligence Director Edmond Fadel, Aljazeera reports.
The officers were formally accused of committing a crime of illicit enrichment and exploiting their official positions to accrue vast fortunes and sums by using their influence and accepting bribes.
They were also 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.
Those charged include former armed forces Commander General Jean Kahwaji, who held his post from 2008 till 2017, and ex-intelligence chiefs Edmond Fadl and Camille Daher, who were in office from 2008 till 2016 and 2016 till 2017, respectively.
High level charges against a former army commander and intelligence heads are unprecedented in Lebanon where corruption is notoriously prevalent but accountability is elusive.
The five others charged are the former head of Kahwaji’s office, Mohammad Jaafar al-Husseini, the former head of army intelligence in Beirut, George Khamis, the former head of army Intelligence in North Lebanon, Amer al-Hosn, retired Brigadier General Abdel-Rahman Shhaytli and a former officer in Lebanon’s General Security agency, Ahmad al-Jamal.
The charges are based on preliminary investigations by Lebanon’s public prosecution office, which decided it had enough evidence to file public charges.
The public prosecution relied among other things on information provided by politicians, written and visual media reports and other information on large fortunes the defendants made during their time in office.
The judge’s suspicions were aroused by the large number of properties and cars owned by some of these individuals, in addition to the large bank accounts they were reported to have, none of which could have been accrued with their state salaries or benefits alone.
Judge Haidar filed the charges and transferred the case to Beirut Investigative Judge Charbel Abu Samra, who is tasked with setting a date for interrogating the former officers.