Lebanon’s former Army Commander General Jean Kahwaji and seven of his close associates will be interrogated next Thursday after they were indicted under the new law on illicit enrichment.
The decision to take legal action against the eight retired military figures took Lebanon by surprise given it is unprecedented for an army commander and high-ranking officers to be prosecuted in corruption cases.
The timing and political circumstances surrounding the case has stirred skepticism among the public. Kahwaji and the officers are known to enjoy significant clout and political coverage.
Beirut Judge Ziad Abu Haidar filed the charges and transferred the case to Beirut Examining Magistrate Charbel Abu Samra, who was tasked with setting the date for interrogating the former officers.
Those charged include Kahwaji and ex-intelligence chiefs Edmond Fadl and Camille Daher.
The five others are the former head of Kahwaji’s office, Mohammad Jaafar al-Husseini, the former head of army intelligence in Beirut, George Khamis, ex-chief 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 officers were 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.
The case was built on statements provided by politicians, reports published by the media, and video footage proving the defendants amassed enormous wealth during their time in power.
After concluding preliminary investigations, sufficient ground was found to initiate a public lawsuit.