A two-man panel of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, on Tuesday discharged a Supreme Court judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, of charges of non-declaration of assets.
The tribunal, in its ruling, agreed with the argument of Justice Ngwuta that, as a serving Justice of the Supreme Court, he could not be tried in any court or tribunal, except after he had been subjected to the investigatory and disciplinary processes of the National Judicial Council (NJC).
The CCT, in its decision, also relied on the judgment of the Court of Appeal in the case of Justice Hyeladzira Nganjiwa., in which the appellate court held, in a December 2017 judgment, that by virtue of Section 158 of the 1999 Constitution, only the NJC was with the powers to deal try judicial officers for any misconduct while in office.
The tribunal held that a judge could not be prosecuted by any court of tribunal until the NJC deals with the allegations against him/he and takes a decision of either dismissing such a judicial officer or compulsorily retiring him or her.
It consequently quashed the charges against Justice Ngwuta and discharged him.
Recall that a Federal High Court in Abuja had taken its final decision on the corruption case involving Justice Ngwuta, pointing out that the prosecution in the Justice Ngwuta’s case failed to comply with the condition precedent before bringing charges against a judicial officer.