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FG arraigns Supreme Court judge over alleged false assets declaration

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta during his arraignment at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, November 21, 2016. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

A suspended Supreme Court judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta was on Thursday arraigned at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Abuja, on an amended 8-count charge of false assets declaration.

Ngwuta, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges instituted by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.

Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), counsel to the defendant, made an oral application seeking the bail of his client on self-recognisance.

Mr Umar Muhammed, Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, did not oppose the application, as according to him, bail granting was at the discretion of the court.

The tribunal headed by its Chairman, Danladi Umar, granted the bail application and fixed July 12 for the commencement of trial.

The Attorney-General of the Federation, Mr Abubakar Malami (SAN), had averred that Ngwuta contravened Section 15 of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria. According to Malami, false declaration of assets was punishable under Section 23 (2) of the Act.

NAN reports that Ngwuta is one of the federal judges from whose residences, the Department of State Service (DSS) claimed it uncovered huge sums of money in various denominations. The DSS raided the judges’ residences in October 2016.

Ngwuta is currently standing trial on that account before Justice John Tsoho of the Federal High Court, Abuja, on an amended 16-count charge bordering on money laundering.

The Federal Government that preferred that charges, said Ngwuta contravened Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act, 2012 (as amended). It added that the offences are punishable under Section 15 (3) of the Act.




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