Court Adjourns Justice Ngwuta’s Trial to March 16 as FG Gets New Prosecutor

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, a judge of the Supreme Court for corruption-related offences has been adjourned till March 16 and 17, 2017.

The adjournment was predicated on a request by new counsel to the federal government, Olusegun Fakunle, for time to study the case file. Ngwuta is being prosecuted by the federal government on a 16-count charge bordering on corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes.

At the last sitting, lawyer to the federal government, Charles Adeogun-Philips, who was engaged for the high profile case from the International Criminal Court (ICC)  due to his wide experience in criminal matters, announced his dramatic withdrawal without giving any reason.

Following this announcement, a new counsel, Hajara Yusuf, announced her appearance as a replacement for the ICC Lawyer to lead the prosecution.

However, after the end of cross examination by the defence led by Kanu Agabi (SAN), Yusuf requested for a short adjournment to enable the prosecution constitute a new prosecution team.

The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, consequently adjourned to February 13 for continuation of trial and re-examination of the prosecution witness.

However, at the resumption of trial yesterday, a new prosecution counsel hired by the federal government, Olusegun Fakunle, prayed the court for a short adjournment to enable her go through the case file.   Fakunle told the court that she was briefed about the matter few days ago after she was informed that the matter was for re-examination.

She told the court that for her to carry out a successful re-examination, she would require a short time to study the case file and subsequently interview the witness before taking further steps.

“I know this is not a bid to slow the space but as a matter of necessity, I will be obliged if my application is considered,” she added.

Counsel to the defendant, led by Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), did not object to the application.

The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, therefore, adjourned the trial to March 16 & 17.