Sylvester Ngwuta, a justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, has been arraigned on Monday, November 21, 2016 by the Muhammadu Buhari-led government at the Federal High Court, Abuja, for alleged fraud.
Justice Ngwuta was arraigned before Justice John Tsoho, a judge notorious for towing the line of the Buhari government.
The justice of the apex court, who was charged following the raid on his house and some other judges by operatives of the Department of State Service, pleaded not guilty to all the 16 counts read to him at the court.
The judge’s lawyer, Kanu Agabi, SAN, prayed the court to admit his client on bail.
The trial judge, Tsoho, stood down the matter for two hours to allow for arguments on the application for bail.
Justice Ngwuta is among seven judges arrested by operatives of the secret police, the State Security Service on 8 October after a midnight raid on their homes.
It was alleged in the 16 counts that Ngwuta transferred the total sum of N505 million “denominated in Naira and US Dollars” to a building contractor, Nwamba Linus Chukwuebuka, between January and May 2016.
The N505 million was alleged to be part of proceeds of Ngwuta’s “unlawful” activities.
He was also accused of instructing a relative to remove some exotic cars from his house in Ebonyi while he was under investigation in violation of the provisions of section 18(1)(b) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Act.
He was also accused of retaining huge sums of money in local and foreign currencies which were alleged to be proceeds of his unlawful act contrary to the provisions of the Money Laundering Act.
The prosecution also accused of Ngwuta of concealing the origin of sums of money which were said to have been found at his home during the raid on his house by the operatives of the DSS between 7 and 8 October.
Apart from the money laundering charges, Ngwuta was accused of passport offences in counts eight to 14 of the amended charges.
He was accused of being in possession of two valid Diplomatic Passports and another two valid Standard Nigerian Passports, when his house was raided by DSS operatives on 8 October.
He also allegedly submitted multiple applications, made false information of loss of the passports and of his age with intention to obtain multiple passports in violation of various provisions of the Immigration Act 2015.
Hattip to PM News