The Federal Government on Wednesday filed two separate charges against Supreme Court judge, Sylvester Ngwuta, and his Federal High Court counterpart, Adeniyi Ademola, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, for alleged violations of the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, Act.
Mr. Ngwuta is already facing a separate corruption charge before the Abuja Division of the Federal High Court while Mr. Ademola is facing a separate corruption charge at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.
Salihu Isah, the spokesperson of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, provided information on the fresh charges on Wednesday.
In a statement Mr. Isah said the office of the AGF filed an application at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, requesting it to commence trial of the two judges.
The charges, according to the statement, were filed by the principal state counsel at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Hajara Yusuf, on behalf of the Attorney General, pursuant to Section 24 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act
.“In the FG request to arraign Justice Ngwuta, the application averred that he engaged in private business as a public officer, contrary to Section 6(b) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. He is also alleged to have 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.
“Justice Ngwuta is expected to face a ten count charge. Part of the charges against him includes that; “between 2nd June 2011 and 19thJuly 2016 while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Tribunal, that Justice Ngwuta 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,” the spokesperson said.
In the second charge, Mr. Ngwuta is alleged to have made a false declaration to the CCB when he failed to declare 22 plots of land at Igwe Uga Avenue, Abakaliki, between the June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016, while serving as a justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria
Counts four to eight state that the judge failed to declare several vehicles including a Wrangler SUV, a Toyota SUV, and a BMW 5 series.
The ninth count states that, “between the 1st day of August 2014 and the 16thday of July 2015, Mr. Ngwuta received from Mr. Ogudu Nwadire, through his personal bank account numbered (0018113021) domiciled at Union Bank PLC, within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, the total sum of Thirty-Six Million, Three Hundred and Ten Thousand Naira (NGN 36, 310,00.00) in the discharge of his official duties as a Judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(3) of the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act, Cap C15 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004 and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act.”
The final count reads; “Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta between the 2nd June 2011 and 19th July 2016 in Abuja, while serving as a Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria and within the Jurisdiction of this Honourable Tribunal did engage 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.”
Mr. Isah said that in an affidavit to support the charge, Samuel Madojemu, who is Head, Investigation Division at the CCB, confirmed the said asset declaration by Mr. Ngwuta, which according to prosecution, was investigated and alleged offence discovered.
He said Mr. Madojemu confirmed that the asset declaration form was investigated upon by the CCB and the State Security Service.
The first count states that, he failed to declare his asset to the Bureau, an offense contrary to Section 15 of the CCB and Tribunal Act, Cap C15 and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act, while the other count states that he engages and participates in private business contrary to Section 6 of the CCB and Tribunal Act and punishable under Section 23(2) of same Act.The spokesperson said a two-count charge was proffered against Justice Ademola at the CCB for which an affidavit was also deposed to by Mr. Madojemu.
According to the charge, Mr. Ademola is accused of engaging in the purchase and sale of foreign exchange currencies, while being a judge of the Federal High Court, and thereby committing an offence contrary to section 6 of the CCB and Tribunal Act.