Justice Ngwuta pleads not guilty to fresh charges, as CCT begins hearing July 12
The Federal Government, on Thursday, docked Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, sitting in Abuja, on fresh 8-count corruption charge.
Ngwuta, who is equally facing another 18-count criminal charge before the Federal High Court in Abuja, pleaded not guilty to the charge which was endorsed by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN.
Specifically, Ngwuta was accused of engaging in private business as a public officer, contrary to Section 6(b) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
FG alleged that he refused to declare his assets as a public officer contrary to Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and Punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.
According to FG, the embattled Jurist failed to declare his ownership of 28 plots of land to the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, in the assets declaration form he filled between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016.
He was also accused of shielding his ownership of five exotic cars.
Part of the charges against him includes that “between 2nd June 2011 and 19th July 2016 while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Tribunal, did make a false declaration of assets” to the CCB when he failed to declare three duplexes at Chinedu Ogah Avenue, Ntezi, Aba in Abakaliki, while being a Justice of the Supreme Court.
He was alleged to have between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016, while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria made a false declaration to the CCB when he failed to declare twenty-two plots of land at Chief Igwe Uga Avenue, Abakaliki, as well as failed to declare six plots of land at Frank Okoroafor Avenue, Abakaliki.
Other allegations was that Ngwuta failed to declare Peugeot Saloon with Vehicle No: VRG55513890295200 and Chassis No: VF34B5FV9BS069213, Registration No: ABC566RL and count five revealed that he failed to declare a Wrangler Jeep with Vehicle No: VRG55535620346898 and Chassis No: IJ4GA591581626734, Registration No: RSH526AJ.
FG alleged that he engaged in purchase and sale of rice, palm oil and other related products, while being a Justice of the Supreme Court and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 6 of the Code Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.
It will be recalled that Ngwuta was among seven superior court Judges that were arrested after a “sting operation” the Department of State Service, DSS, conducted between October 7 and 8, 2016.
Meanwhile, shortly after the defendant entered his plea, the prosecution team led by Mr. Umar Mohammed secured nod of the tribunal for FG to produce its witnesses on July 12.
Likewise, Ngwuta’s lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi, SAN, persuaded a two-man panel of the CCT led by its Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar,to allow his client on bail pending hearing and determination of the case against him.
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