Nigerian govt says it ‘sacked’ Justice Ngwuta’s lead prosecutor

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta
Justice Sylvester Ngwuta

The Federal Government says the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) sacked Charles Adeogun-Philips, the lead prosecutor in the suit against Supreme Court judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta for unprofessional conduct.

Salisu Isah, Special Adviser on Media to the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami, revealed this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja.

Mr. Adeogun-Philips had on Thursday, at the resume hearing of the case, announced his withdrawal but did not give any reason for his action.

Mr. Ngwuta is facing trial before Justice James Too on charges of money laundering, age falsification and illegal possession of multiple international passports, among others.

Mr. Isah, who is also Head of Communication and Public Affairs, NPCC, said that Mr. Adeogun-Philips’ sack was conveyed to him in a letter.

He said that the NPCC that engaged the services of Mr. Adeogun-Philips, withdrew the fiat issued to him to prosecute the case over non-disclosure of conflict of interest and for other sundry reasons.

He said the impression given by Mr. Adeogun-Philips suggesting that he withdrew from the case on his own volition was not true.

“The report that he left in protest due to last week Tuesday’s dropping of charges earlier instituted against the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Ahmed Gambo Saleh and two other officials of the apex court which he is also handling cannot be relied upon.

“The insinuation that the attorney-general withdrew the case against the three Supreme Court officials because they are Northerners is also unwarranted.

“The dropping of the suit was done in good faith and in the context of plea bargaining to achieve greater goals in the prosecution of the other bigger cases that are ongoing against Justice Sylvester Ngwuta among others.”

According to Mr. Isah, it is “wicked and childish” for anyone to allude undue colouration to an action taken in national interest and reduce it to a North/South thing.

“This is not the first time such process will be entered into in law, especially so as the Administration of Criminal Justice Act 2015 allows plea bargaining in line with national interest.

“And as a way of precedence, there was a time in the history of this nation that the allegations against Sgt. Rogers, who was accused of killing Kudirat Abiola, were stepped down for him to be used to testify against Maj Hamza Al-Mustapha.

“This was in the case between him and the Lagos State government over the killing of the wife of the acclaimed winner of the 1992 presidential election, late Chief M.K.O Abiola.

“It has now clearly shown that, either corruption is fighting back or simply that some people want to be mischievous and to hoodwink and divert the estimation of Nigerians from the core issues at stake.”

He expressed concern that no one was talking of the “unprofessional conduct” of Mr. Adeosun-Philips who was handling a brief in an ongoing suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

He said this amounted to conflict of interest which he failed to disclose when being engaged.

The News Agency of Nigeria reports that the NPCC, chaired by Mr. Malami, was inaugurated by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo on May 27, 2016.

It is charged with assisting the Attorney- General in the exercise of his prosecutorial powers under Section 150 and 174(1) of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria; especially as it involves high profile criminal cases.(NAN)


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  • thusspokez

    He expressed concern that no one was talking of the “unprofessional conduct” of Mr. Adeosun-Philips who was handling a brief in an ongoing suit at the Federal High Court in Lagos against the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

    This is inadvertently, a self-criticism, i.e, the NPCC/AG is criticising itself and its own procedure or lack of it: The NPCC or Attorney-General’s office is, in effect, telling Nigerians that it had not followed proper procedure in the appointment of Mr. Adeogun-Philips as a lead prosecutor. A proper background checks would have revealed any “unprofessional conduct” of Mr. Adeosun-Philips.

    • Duro Jaiyeola

      Premium Times Editor,

      I beg President Buhari to do the right thing on this Central Bank of Nigeria’s
      audit report. Buhari can’t pretend that he is not aware of it because the whole
      country is aware that theft occurred inside that dubious Central Bank of
      Nigeria under the suspicious leadership of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.

      This is serious crime. Theft is a serious crime. President Buhari would only be further
      accused of nepotism if he’ll continue to pretend ignorance. A honest president doesn’t
      need any reminder to prosecute theft or even any criminal activity uncovered whatever.

      The Financial Reporting Council (as a government agency) did its own statutory duty
      by uncovering this theft. It is now for President Buhari – as the head of the executive
      arm – to prosecute all those indicted by this audit report. Theft should not be swept
      under the carpet whenever northern Nigerians are the accused persons, please!

      • Duro Jaiyeola

        The corruption BUHARI sweeps under carpet: CENTRAL BANK audit result

        • ₦38.23billion developed legs and got missing in Central Bank under Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
        • ₦160billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido at the Central Bank for self-determined spending.
        • ₦1.12billion was taken as spent by Sanusi Lamido on lunch for 12 CBN police guards
        in one year.
        • ₦1.12billion was taken in cash and entered in the account as paid to a non-operating airline
        for charter service.
        • ₦240billion was discretionally doled out at will as ‘donations’ by Sanusi Lamido.
        • ₦1.97billion was paid out in cash and entered on Central Bank accounts as “inexplicable
        expense” by Sanusi Lamido Sanusi.
        • ₦20billion was entered as paid out in cash as Legal Fees by Sanusi Lamido to persons
        unknown.
        • ₦3.086billion was taken by Sanusi Lamido and written off as expense ostensibly to promote
        Central Bank image.

        • Patriotism

          All under GEJ’s watch? Blame the gej’s adminstration for all these and many more frauds. You are a typical biafraud animal if the zoo, where fraud is legal. We are Nigerians where fraud is a crime.

      • W.W.W

        @thusspokez:disqus

        Hahahahaha! My brother, see the big picture that @D. Jaiyeola is showing us in color below.

        Attorney-General Malami says there’s no impunity for Northerners to steal, how about CBN theft case?

        Attorney-General has never said a word on that CBN theft case. President Buhari too is totally quiet.

        This Buhari/APC government is too biased, too corrupt, too dishonest and nepotist, to ever be trusted.

      • thusspokez

        The Financial Reporting Council (as a government agency) did its own statutory duty
        by uncovering this theft. It is now for President Buhari – as the head of the executive
        arm – to prosecute all those indicted by this audit report.

        You are letting off the EFCC, and the police!

        Undoubtedly, the buck stops with the president, but by not directing your criticisms at the institutions actually created by Acts of Parliament to enforce the law of Nigeria you are helping these institutions to perpetrate the lies that they feed the Nigerian public, namely, that politicians are to blame for their ineffectiveness and mediocrity or their lack of powers.

        • Eke Harrison Ogwu

          PLEASE HELP US TELL PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP IN AMERICA THAT WE ARE SUFFERING
          TOO MUCH IN NIGERIA; TOO MUCH, NO LIGHT, NO WATER, NO JOBS, NO SAFETY, NO MONEY,
          FOOD COSTS TOO HIGH, TRANSPORT COSTS TOO HIGH, INFLATION NOW CLOSE TO 20%,
          PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA IS HALE AND HEARTY ON INDEFINITE SICK LEAVE, NO MORE HOPE.
          THE GOVERNMENT OFFICIALS STEAL EVERY DAY. BUT NO OFFICIAL IS IN JAIL FOR THEFT.

          • Patriotism

            Migrate to your heaven, USA. A biafraud animal of the ZOO. You better return to the Almighty God for help. Trump is working for American’s gains and development not biafraud Zoo. Nonsense!!!!!

      • Patriotism

        A typical biafraud animal of the ZOO. Fraud is legal in the biafraud’s ZOO. We are Nigerians where fraud is illegal.

    • Dee Law

      @thusspokez:disqus,

      NOTHING THE ATTORNEY-GENERAL SAID EXCUSES WHY THE THREE NORTHERNERS
      CAUGHT IN A WEB OF THEFT OF 2.2 BILLION NAIRA WERE LET OFF WHILE THE ONLY
      SOUTHERN CHRISTIAN IMPLICATED FOR MONEYLAUNDERING GETS MORE CHARGES.

      • thusspokez

        Start a new comment of your own rather that a response that is irrelevant to my comment.

        • Dee Law

          @thusspokez:disqus ,

          We should discuss all facets. You were only interested in the issue of an attorney representing
          the two sides in two different cases whilst i discussed the broaders issue raised in this story by
          the attorney-general himself that the explanation of double representation he’s flagged will sort
          of bat off the tenuous fact that the three northern Muslims were taken off the loop of prosecution.

      • Patriotism

        A typical biafraud animal of the ZOO. Fraud is legal in the republic of biafraud’s ZOO. We are Nigerians where fraud is illegal.

    • Oluwole T. Obadina

      @thusspokez:disqus : Good thinking on your part my brother. Your inference is impeccable. The effect of saying
      what the attorney-general said is that there’s no government in Nigeria keeping any records or vetting any
      public issue with seriousness before impulsively deciding. You can see why Nigeria’s in perpetual darkness!
      No electricity all across the country since December 2016. Ecnomic recession now gets close to 4th quarter.

      • F. Omilani

        @Julius:disqus

        The people Nigerians call “Leaders” are criminals and thieves, certificate forgers, and, drug-runners.

        How can such a country ever make any progress? Thieves are in total control of the useless country!!

        • Patriotism

          A typical biafraud animal of the ZOO. Fraud is legal in the republic of biafraud’s ZOO. We are Nigerians where fraud is illegal.

    • Julius

      Yes, I was wondering when this will come up. He was indeed involve in a case against the efcc when he was hired to prosecute the Judge on behalf of the efcc. You are correct, a simply background check would have revealed that. I thought maybe he had stepped down on that case against the efcc. The fault lies with both parties.

  • Ehichioya Ezomon

    Why is @Duro Jaiyeola and others diverting attention here from the issues in the news above – the difference in the treatment of the same case involving Justice Ngwuta and three Northerners. Why would the Northerners be let off the hook while Justice Ngwuta faces trial on the same allegations against the four? Well, follow Mr. Isah’s explanation: The three Northerners admitted guilt, and entered into a plea bargain. Which means, they will return the proceeds of crime in full or partially, and can be used as witnesses rather than being the accused in the case. But for Justice Ngwuta, he pleaded not guilty to the charges, and therefore, faces trial. Why blame the government of nepotism when the Northerners, accused of the same crime as a Southerner admitted guilt and pledged restitution? The allegations of financial malpractice against Lamido Sanusi, as Governor of CBN, must be dealt with by the government. But that was not the issue of discussion here. So, don’t divert attention from a particular issue(s) next time. Thanks and God bless. Ezomon.