I am not guilty of the 16-Count charge slammed against me by the Federal Government, a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, told Justice John Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja where he has just been arraigned by the Federal Government.
It was alleged in the 16 counts that Ngwuta transferred the total sum of N505million “denominated in naira and US dollars” to a building contractor, Nwamba Linus Chukwuebuka, between January and May 2016.
The N505million was alleged to be part of proceeds of Ngwuta’s “unlawful” activities.
He was also accused of instructing a relative to remove some exotic cars from his house in Ebonyi while he was under investigation in violation of the provisions of section 18(1)(b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act.
He was also accused of retaining huge sums of money in local and foreign currencies, which were alleged to be proceeds of his unlawful act contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering Act.
The prosecution also accused of Ngwuta of concealing the origin of sums of money, which were said to have been found at his home, during the raid on his house by the operatives of the DSS between October 7 and 8, 2016.
Apart from the money laundering charges, Ngwuta was accused of passport offences in counts eight to 14 of the amended charges.
He was accused of being in possession of two valid diplomatic passports and another two valid Standard Nigerian Passports, when his house was raided by DSS operatives on October 8, 2016.
He also allegedly submitted multiple applications, made false information of loss of the passports and of his age with intention to obtain multiple of the passports in violation of various provisions of the Immigration Act 2015.
After pleading not guilty to the charges, the prosecuting counsel, Mr Charles Adeogun-Philips, told the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho that he prepared to call the first prosecution.
Ngwuta’s counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), prayed the court to grant him bail on self recognition.
Adeogun-Philips responded by saying that he was just served and so he needed time to read the motion to enable him to take a decision on whether to oppose it or not.
Meanwhile, the court stood down arguments on the bail application till 12. 30 pm.