By Vivian Okejeme Abuja
The suspended Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, was yesterday, among the Justices who inaugurated the new Senior Advocates of Nigeria (SANs) in the Supreme Court.
Justice Ngwuta who was sited among other Justices of the court, at the event that also marked the commencement of the court’s new legal year, was fully robed sitting as the third in line in seniority.
The embattled justice has not sat in open court since November 4, 2016 following a directive by the NJC that judicial officers being investigated on corruption related allegations should cease to perform judicial functions until the conclusion of investigation.
It will be recalled that justice Ngwuta was one of the two Justices of the Apex Court, whose houses were raided, among other judges, by operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) between 7 and 8, October, 2016.
While his other colleague, Justice John Okoro resumed duties shortly after the raid, Ngwuta was charged to court.
He was first arraigned before the Federal High Court in Abuja on corruption related charges and later, arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), over his alleged failure to declare some of his assets. Both charges were filed by the office of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
On March 23, 2018, the Federal High Court upheld his challenge of the competence of the charge and discharged him.
The trial judge Justice John Tsoho, in his ruling, held that it was wrong to subject Justice Ngwuta’s trial before his court, without first, subjecting him to the disciplinary procedure of the NJC.
In the same vain, the CCT, on May 15, 2018 struck out the charge against Justice Ngwuta.
Since the last decision by the CCT, Justice Ngwuta has not resumed normal judicial functions.