Non arrival of exhibits stall Ngwuta’s trial

• Court adjourns till May 25

The Federal High Court sitting in Abuja could not go with the trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court on Wednesday due to the non arrival of exhibits.

The Federal Government is prosecuting Justice Ngwuta on a 16-count charge bordering on corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes.

The charge against the Supreme Court Justice which was earlier amended to 12-count was again amended to 13-count charge on Tuesday, May 16, 2017 when the case resumed for continuation of trial.

Ngwuta pleaded not guilty to all the charges preferred against him by the Federal Government when read out to him.

After the lead prosecution counsel, Olufemi Fatunde, from the office of the Attorney General of the Federation presented two witnesses on Tuesday, the matter was adjourned to yesterday for continuation of trial.

However, when the case came up yesterday, the prosecuting counsel told the court that exhibits to be presented by the witnesses was not in court and she pleaded for adjournment.

The defendant’s counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN) did not oppose the application for adjournment by the prosecution and however, added that the defence is anxious than the prosecution to go on with the case.

“The defendant is willing to defend himself and prove his innocence on merit. Any time the exhibits are in court, we are ready. But t if you want to strike out the case, I leave that to your discretion”, Chief Agabi told the trial Judge, Justice John Tsoho.

After the submissions, Justice Tsoho adjourned the matter till May 25 and 26, 2017 for continuation of trial.

Recalled that Justice Ngwuta was among the seven Judges that were arrested between October 7 and 8, 2016 after the Department State Service (DSS) raided their homes in what was termed “a sting operation.”

Ngwuta was alleged to have retained in his possession millions of naira and huge sums of money, in hard currencies, contrary to the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

It was also alleged that the defendant obtained multiple passports contrary to Section 10 of the Immigration Act, 2015 and punishable under the same Section.

He was alleged to have made false statement to the passport office concerning his date of birth for the purpose of procuring an additional Diplomatic Passport for himself.

 

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