Absence of Exhibit Stalls Justice Ngwuta’s Trial

Non arrival of exhibit in court Wednesday stalled the ongoing trial of the Supreme Court Judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta.
Justice Ngwuta is standing trial on a 16-count charge bordering on corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes, at a Federal High Court in Abuja.
The charge was later amended to 12-count but when the case resumed May 16, the Federal Government yet amended it to a 13-count charge.
After the prosecution presented two witnesses Tuesday, May 16, the matter was adjourned to Wednesday May 17 for continuation of of trial.
However, when the case came up, the lead prosecuting counsel from the Ministry of Justice, Olufunmilayo Fatunde, told the court that exhibit to be tendered by the witness was not in court.
She pleaded for adjournment
The defendant’s counsel, Kanu Agabi, said he was not opposing the adjournment application.
He nevertheless observed that: “My Lord, we are more 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 exhibit is in court, we are ready. But if you want to strike out the case I leave that to your discretion”
The trial Judge, Justice John Tsoho adjourned to May 25 and 26 for continuation of trial.
It will be recalled that Justice Ngwuta was among seven Supreme Court Judges that were arrested between October 7 and 8, 2016 after the Department Security Service (DSS) raided their homes in what was termed “a sting operation”
Among allegations against Justice Ngwuta is giving false information to the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) concerning his diplomatic passport with the purpose of procuring another one.
Other charges, including money laundering allegation of retention and concealment of various sums of money in local and foreign currencies, allegedly recovered from him during the raid of the operatives of the Department of State Service on October 8, 2016, remained part of the charges.
He was also accused of giving various cash sums of money above the statutory threshold to his building contractor for the building of various houses in his home-state, Ebonyi State, without going through a financial institution.

Author: News Editor

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