By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The Code of Conduct Tribunal(CCT) Jabi Abuja, yesterday discharged a Supreme Court Justice, Justice Silvester Ngwuta of non-assets declaration charges brought against him.
Justice Ngwuta is one of the federal judges whose residences were raided in October 2016, by the State Security Service (SSS) and large sums of money were allegedly found in the process.
Sequel to the raid, the federal government brought Ngwuta before the Federal High Court, Abuja on an allegation of money laundering.
In the charge sheet, the Attorney-General of the Federation(AGF) Abubakar Malami, alleged that Ngwuta contravened Section 15 of the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Tribunal Act punishable under Section 23 (2) of the Act.
Delivery the ruling by a member of the Tribunal, Justice William A. Atedze, he held that he aligned with the argument if the applicant in paragraph 4.1 of his written addresses.
Atedze held that the F G over-reached itself by not waiting for the NJC to first take a decision on the respondent’s alleged misconduct before bringing him to the tribunal.
He stated that as a serving judicial officer, he is under the management control and discipline of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
He added that NJC is a body whose independence from external control or interference is constitutionally provided for by section 158 (1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended).
He added ‘’ this means that any allegation of official misconduct will first have to be referred to the National Judicial Council to the exclusion of any other body, court or Tribunal’’.
The court held that the prosecution, who queried veracity of the adoption of the case of Ngajiwa v. FRN as a precedent, further contradicted himself by alluding to the possibility that should the matter be appealed to the Supreme Court for final determination, that the apex Court may adopt his line of argument.
Justice Atedze added that the prosecution is desirous of selecting precedents that favours his case, he maintained that this cannot be so, judicial precedent are all bidding for as long as is subsisting and until such precedent is over turn by the Higher Court.
It will be recall that sometimes in 2016, Justice Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta, was brought before Justice Danladi Y. Umar led-Code of Conduct Tribunal for his refusal to declare his assets as public officer.
Subsequently, the Defendant, through his legal Counsel, Chief Kanu Godwin Agabi (SAN), filed a motion before the two man panel of the Tribunal, opposing the continuation of his client trial based on the ruling from Court of Appeal.