False Asset Declaration: CCT Threatens to Throw out FG’s Suit against Supreme Court Justice, Ngwuta

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Alex Enumah in Abuja

The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) wednesday threatened to throw out the federal government suit accusing a Supreme Court Justice, Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta, of false declaration of his assets, if the government fails to proceed with the trial at the next adjourned date.

The federal government had last year arraigned Justice Ngwuta before the tribunal on a 10-count charge bordering on false declaration of asset and money laundering.

But at the resumed trial yesterday, the tribunal berated the federal government over the poor and shoddy manner it has been going with the trial.

The Tribunal Chairman, Danladi Yakubu Umar, consequently threatened to strike out the 10-count charge brought against the apex court Justice by the federal government should the government lawyer refuse to proceed with the trial on February 20, 2018.

Although the trial was slated for yesterday, it was however stalled following a request for an adjournment by one Julius Kolawole, who announced his appearance for the federal government in the matter.

Kolawole told the tribunal that the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) had engaged a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Abeni Mohammed, to take over the trial which started since last year without any headway, and that the new lawyer needed time to formally takeover the case.

At this point, the Tribunal Chairman, Umar, cut in and demanded the whereabouts of the newly engaged government lawyer, and was told that the senior lawyer was not present in court.

The tribunal chairman, who was furious with the explanation, reminded the government legal team that the matter was for definite trial, having suffered series of adjournments from the same government that brought the criminal charge against the Supreme Court Justice.

Umar told the prosecution that his tribunal is a serious court for serious complainant and that any attempt to further scuttle the definite trial would be resisted and that the charge may be struck out.
Umar, however, granted the adjournment requested and shifted the matter for definite trial on February 20 with a warning that the charge maybe terminated that day should the federal government come up with any excuses to further abort the definite trial of the defendant.

“The next adjourned date of February 20, 2018, is for definite trial, and we will not tolerate any further request for an adjournment. This is a serious court of justice that must be respected,” he said.

Another member of the tribunal, Mr. Williams Atedze, berated the federal government for taking the tribunal for a ride in the prosecution of the high profile case.

“One of the salient points in our law profession is that lawyers are supposed to be men of honors, but the contrary appears to be the case in this instant matter. This matter has been consistently adjourned at the instance of the federal government for no just cause, and this is not good in any criminal trial,” he said.