Justice Ngwuta docked, granted bail on false asset declaration charge
When the amended charge was read to the apex court judge, he pleaded not guilty to all counts.The tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar, granted the bail application as prayed by Justice Ngwuta’s counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN), who moved an oral bail application. Umar granted the judge bail on self re-cognizance.
The prosecution counsel and the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Umar Muhammed, did not oppose the application when it was moved.Meanwhile, two charges were dropped from the initial 10-count. This included the charge of non-declaration of 22 plots of land at Chief Igwe Uga Avenue, Abakaliliki, by Justice Ngwuta, where he was alleged, specifically, to have failed to declare the property to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016.
The amended charge alleged that Justice Ngwuta engaged in the purchase and sale of rice, palm oil and other related products, while being a Justice of the Supreme Court, within the same period.
Prosecution Counsel, Umar Muhammed, stated that in addition to the plots of lands and acts of buying and selling, Justice Ngwuta also owns five cars, which he allegedly kept away in asset declaration and from the CCB.
The alleged offences according to prosecution are contrary to Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria (LFN) 2004 and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.