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CCT: Justice Ngwuta docked, granted bail

From Godwin Tsa, Abuja

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court was yesterday arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) by the Federal Government on an amended eight-count charge bordering on false declaration of assets.
He pleaded not guilty to all the counts and was granted bail on self-re- cognizance.
Oral bail application moved by his counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN), former Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice was not opposed by the  prosecution counsel and Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Umar Muhammed.
Accordingly, the tribunal Chairman, Danladi Umar granted the bail application as prayed.
Meanwhile, the Federal Government has dropped two charges from the initial 10-count filed against him.
The prosecution dropped the charge of  non-declaration of 22 plots of land at Chief Igwe Uga Avenue, Abakaliliki.
According to the amended charge, Justice Ngwuta was specifically alleged to have failed to declare a parcel of land and property to the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) between June 2, 2011 and July 19, 2016.
The Federal Government also alleged that 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 and owning five cars, which he allegedly kept away 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 2004 and punishable under section 23(2) of the same Act.
Ngwuta is currently undergoing a separate trial for money laundering and passport fraud brought against him by the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation before a Federal High Court, Abuja.
While Justice Ngwuta’s trial was going on before a Federal High Court, the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation had on February 8, 2017 preferred separate sets of charges bordering on breaches of code of conduct for public officers and asset declaration against him and another judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Adeniyi Ademola.
No date has been fixed for the arraignment of Justice Ademola on the two-count.

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