Abuja - The criminal trial of Justice
Sylvester Ngwuta by the Federal High Court, Abuja was on Wednesday stalled on
allegation of untimely service of 'trial processes' on the defence team.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Chief Kanu
Agabi (SAN), the defence lead counsel had filed an oral motion seeking
adjournment in order to avail him of documentary evidence brought against
The presiding judge, Justice John Tsoho held that the new
Administration of Criminal Justice Act allowed five adjournments on instances
He also said Section 396 of the Act gave wider room for
persons charged for criminal offence to be availed the allowance to prepare for
“This opportunity also extends to the psychological and
emotion disposition of the defendant.
“However, no defendant that is worth his or her salt would
allow criminal charges to hang around him or her. This application has merit
and it is upheld.
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“The defence team is obliged time to use this period to
study the charges, evidence and all other document related to the case.”
Tsoho added: “the trial is adjourned to run between Jan.18
and Jan. 23’’.
Agabi had said that the prosecution team served him with the
complete process few days ago, adding that he required time to under study the
Mr Philips Adeogun, the prosecuting counsel, opposed the
application, as according to him, the defence’s team was served all relevant
processes required to kick start the trial.
“It was based on the assurance that we had satisfied our
obligations that we brought our witnesses to court.
“Indeed, we are taken aback that the defendant counsel would
move this retrogressive motion. We pray the court to dismiss it.
“After all the Administration of Criminal Justice Act
compels accelerated hearing of criminal matters such as this,’’ he said.
NAN recalls that Ngwuta was on Nov. 21, 2016 arraigned
before the court on a 16-count charge including alleged money
laundering and judicial misconduct.
Ngwuta, a suspended Justice of the Supreme Court,
however, pleaded not guilty to all the charges.
NAN further recalls that Ngwuta, his colleague, Justice
Inyang Okoro, and five other federal judges had been suspended on allegations
The Department of State Services raided their homes on Oct.
7 and Oct. 8 and allegedly discovered large sums of money.
In the charge sheet, the prosecution stated that Ngwuta
illegally retained N35, 358, 000.00, contrary to the Money Laundering
(Prohibition) Act, 2011.
The prosecution also accused the judge of illegally
retaining in his possession 319,596.00 dollars and 25, 915 pounds among others.