The Federal Government has arraigned Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court before the code of conduct tribunal, CCT, Abuja, on an amended 8-count charge of false asset declaration.
Ngwuta, who is also facing separate corruption charges at the federal high court, Abuja, was on February 8, sued before the CCT for allegedly breaching the code of conduct for public officers by engaging in several other businesses while still in the employment of the federal government as well as false assets declaration.
During Thursday’s hearing, the charges, which were amended from 10 to 8, were read to the accused person, and he pleaded not guilty to all of them.
The defence lawyer, Kanu Agabi, thereafter made an oral application, asking that Ngwuta be granted bail on self-recognisance.
The request was not opposed by the lead prosecuting counsel, Umar Muhammed, who is the Director of Public Prosecutions at the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
Chairman of the tribunal, Danladi Umar, granted the bail application and adjourned the case to July 12 for commencement of trial.
Recall that Justice Ngwuta was among the senior judges whose residences were raided by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, in October 2016 on suspicion of corruption.
He was subsequently dragged before the Abuja federal high court where charges of money laundering and passport fraud were brought against him.
But the Supreme Court Justice had earlier written to the then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Mahmud Mohammed, alleging that his ordeal was being orchestrated by the current Minister of Science and Technology, Ogbonnaya Onu and his Transportation counterpart, Rotimi Amaechi.
He said both ministers had approached him at different periods in the past but he refused their entreaties for him to pervert the justice.
Ngwuta is not the only senior member of the Nigerian Bench that is facing corruption trial.
His counterpart at the federal high court Abuja, Adeniyi Ademola, has just been cleared at an FCT high court of the corruption charges against him but the federal government said it has appealed the judgement.
Ademola, however, is also facing charges of false assets declaration at the CCT, but no date has been fixed for his arraignment.