Judgesgate scandal: Justices Ngwuta, Ademola dragged by FG before CCT

Federal Government on Wednesday filed two separate charges against Supreme Court judge, Justice Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta and his Federal High Court counterpart, Justice Adeniyi Francis Adetokunbo Ademola at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for contravening the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) Act.

Special Adviser to the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) on Media and Publicity, Comrade Salihu Othman Isah revealed this in a statement issued Wednesday.

He said that the Office of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice filed an application at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) requesting it to commence trial of the two judges.

Isah disclosed that Principal State Counsel at the Federal Ministry of Justice, Hajara Yusuf filed the charges on behalf of the Honourable Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice 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 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 is also alleged in the second count to have between the 2nd June 2011 and 19th July 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, while the third count states that he failed to declare six plots of land at Frank Okoroafor Avenue, Abakaliki.

Count four alleged that Justice 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.

The Federal Government’s six count against him; is that he failed to declare a Toyota Jeep with Vehicle No: VRG77746877423115 and Chassis No: 5TDDY5G1XAS028067, with Registration No: KWL550BS.

His seventh count stipulates that he failed to declare a BMW 5 Series Saloon with Vehicle No: 7779067484832 and Chassis No: WBSWL91060P323876 with Registration No: KUJ510FU.

The eight count levelled against Justice Sylvester Ngwuta is that he failed to declare a Liberty Jeep with Vehicle No: VRG77746817425807 and Chassis No: 1J8GP28KX9W550564 with Registration No: RBC570DP.

His ninth count allege that, “between the 1st day of August 2014 and the 16th day of July 2015, corruptly received from Mr. Ogudu Nwadire, through your 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 your 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.”

In an affidavit to support the charges against Justice Ngwuta, Mr. Samuel Ozigbe Madojemu, who is Head, Investigation Division at the Code of Conduct Bureau deposed that, “I am aware that the said Mr. Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta filed the following assets declaration forms for public officers with the Code of Conduct Bureau while serving as a public officer; (a) Code of Conduct Bureau assets declaration form CCB1 dated 2nd June, 2011, (b) Code of Conduct Bureau assets declaration form CCB dated 19th July, 2016.”

Madojemu went on to state that, “the various assets declaration forms submitted by the said Mr. Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta were assigned to me, other officers of the Bureau and other officers of the DSS.”

He added that the investigation was conducted through the collaborative efforts of the Bureau and the Department of State Security Service.

On his part, Justice Adeniyi Francis Adetokunbo Ademola has a two-count allegation filed against him and for which an affidavit was also deposed to by Mr. Samuel Madojemu of the CCB.

Count one against Justice Ademola is that, he failed to declare his assets to the Code of Conduct Bureau and thereby breached Section 15 of the CCB and Tribunal Act, Cap C15 and punishable under Section 23(2) of the same Act, while his other count is that he engages and participate in private business contrary to Section 6 of the CCB and Tribunal Act and punishable under Section 23(2) of same Act.

He particularly 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.

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