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Serving Judges Can’t Do Business, Says Witness

THE Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ahmed Saleh, testifying as the second prosecution witness yesterday in the on-going trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, said it is not legal for a serving judge to engage in any other business.

Supreme Court Justice Ngwuta is being tried before the Federal High Court, Abuja by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation on sundry charges, including money laundering.

The Department of State Services (DSS) claimed to have recovered huge sums of money in the judge’s Abuja and Abakaliki homes.

Yesterday, Saleh said the law bars serving judicial officers from engaging in business.

Saleh’s position was in response to a question whether Justices of the Supreme Court were allowed to do business while still in service.

Saleh said: “I know under the Code of Conduct for Judicial Officers, judicial officers are not allowed to engage directly in businesses.”

The Office of the AGF had earlier last month withdrew a N2 billion criminal charge filed at the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) against Saleh and two officials of the Supreme Court, claiming it did so to have Saleh testify for the prosecution in Justice Ngwuta’s trial.

Saleh added that Justice Ngwuta was appointed a Justice of the Supreme Court around June or July 2011.

He said between when Justice Ngwuta was appointed in 2011 and September 2016, a period of five years, he earned a total of £50,000, $196,000 and N119m.

He said Justices of the apex court were also earn £10,000 for medical check-up annually and were entitled to estacode of $1,300 per night whenever they were on a foreign trip.

Saleh said Justice Ngwuta, as a Justice of the Supreme Court, was earning N751,087 as monthly salary and N710,000 as other allowances monthly.

H added that within the last five years, Justice Ngwuta earned about £50,000 as medical allowances, $196,000 as medical allowances, N8 million for air tickets for medical trips; another N8 million as air fares for conferences abroad and N103 million as salaries.

The witness said: “His Lordship has travelled five times from 2011 till September 2016 for medical check-up. And each year, he has received £10,000, making a total of £50,000 for five years.

“The total estacodes paid to him for various foreign trips is $196,000.The total salaries and allowances his lordship collected during the period is a little over N103 million,” Saleh said.

Answering questions from the defence under cross-examination, Saleh said no law barred a Justice of the Supreme Court from owning properties.

The witness said since he had been in office, he had never received any report of corruption allegation against Ngwuta.

He added: “No, in the course of my duty, I did not receive any report that the defendant engaged in business other than his work as a justice,” the witness said.

This post first appeared on Nigerian Latest News Papers News Online, please read the originial post: here

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Serving Judges Can’t Do Business, Says Witness


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