AGF Files Six-count Charge Against S’Court Justice Ngwuta

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  •  Accuses him of money laundering, forgery

Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
The federal government has filed a six-count criminal charge of money laundering and corruption against 65-year-old Justice Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta, a serving judge of the Supreme Court of Nigeria who is currently on suspension.

Following allegations of corruption against Ngwuta, the Department of State Services (DSS) started investigation into his activities which culminated in the execution of a search warrant on his official residence and his arrest on October 8.

The defendant, in the information filed before the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) was alleged to have retained in his possession the sum of N35,358,000.00 contrary to the Money Laundering ( Prohibition) Act.

He was alleged to have also retained in his possession the sum of $319,596.00 and £25,915, all of which, according to the prosecutor, formed part of the proceeds of unlawful acts contrary to the Money Laundering Act.
Several sums of cash were allegedly recovered including N35.3 million, $319,596.00, £25,915 sterling and €280 from his residence.

The search, according to the prosecutors, also revealed four diplomatic passports, one official, and two standard Nigerian passports, all in the name of the defendant.
The accused Supreme Court judge was alleged to have obtained multiple passports contrary to Section 10 of the Immigration Act, 2015, and punishable under the same Act.

He was alleged to have made false statements to the passport office concerning his date of birth for the purpose of procuring an additional diplomatic passport for himself.
He was also alleged to have in his possession two valid diplomatic passports and thereby committed an offence under Section 10 of the Immigration Act.

Some of the counts read: “That you Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta, adult, ‘M’, 65 years, of No. 2 Yellow Houses, Supreme Court Quarters, off Shehu Shagari Way, Central District, Abuja, on or about the 8th day of October, 2016 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, retained in your possession the sum of N35,358,000.00 which sum forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

“Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta, adult, ‘M’, 65 years, of No. 2 Yellow Houses, Supreme Court Quarters, off Shehu Shagari Way, Central District, Abuja, on or about the 8th day of October, 2016 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, retained in your possession the sum of three hundred and nineteen thousand five hundred and ninety-six United States of America dollars ($319,596.00) which sum forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

“Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta, adult, ‘M’, 65 years, of No. 2 Yellow Houses, Supreme Court Quarters, off Shehu Shagari Way, Central District, Abuja, on or about the 8th day of October, 2016 within the jurisdiction of this Honourable Court, retained in your possession the sum of twenty-five thousand nine hundred and fifteen pounds sterling (GBP 25,915) which sum forms part of the proceeds of an unlawful act and you thereby committed an offence contrary to section 15(2)(d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended).

“Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta, adult, ‘M’, 65 years, of No. 2 Yellow Houses, Supreme Court Quarters, off Shehu Shagari Way, Central District, Abuja, FCT, on 8th October 2016 at Abuja within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, had in your possession two valid diplomatic passports and you thereby committed an offence contrary to Section 10(1)(a) of the Immigration Act, 2015.”
The case was yet to be assigned to a judge at the time of this report.