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FG loses corruption case against Justice Ngwuta



CCT frees Justice Ngwuta in false asset declaration case

President Muhammadu Buhari’s corruption fight has suffered another setback as the Federal High Court Abuja, on Friday freed a serving Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of any wrong-doing in the corruption charges filed against him.

The court presided over by Justice John Tsoho threw out all the 13 counts of money laundering and passport fraud the Federal Government instituted against Justice Ngwuta.

The apex court judge was among the judicial officers whose houses were raided by the operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) in October 2016.

The Federal Government, through the Office of the Attorney-General of the Federation, had after the raid of Ngwuta’s home charged him with various corruption offences.

But in his judgment on the matter, the trial judge, Justice Tsoho sacked all the 13-count charges levelled against Ngwuta, anchoring his ruling on an earlier judgment of the Court of Appeal.

He held that the pre-conditions for instituting charges against a judicial officer were not met before charging Justice Ngwuta.

The judgment Justice Tsoho relied on in his ruling was that of the Lagos Division of the Court of Appeal delivered on December 12, 2017, where the court dismissed the corruption charges instituted against a serving judge of the Federal High Court, Justice Hyeldzira Nganjiwa.

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The appeal court had dismissed the charges instituted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission against the Federal High Court judge on the basis that a serving judge could not be investigated or prosecuted without being first disciplined by the National Judicial Council.

Justice Ngwuta had in application to the court, argued through his counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi ( SAN ), that by virtue of the said Court of Appeal judgment in Nganjiwa’s case and the provisions of section 158 (1), Paragraph 21 (8) of the Third Schedule to the Constitution, the charges instituted against him were incompetent.

According to the Supreme Court justice, going by the judgment of the Court of Appeal, the complaints forming the basis of the charges leveled against him ought to have been referred to the National Judicial Council (NJC) and have the NJC discipline him before, charges could be instituted against him.


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