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Prosecuting counsel, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Phillips ( pictured left) in a surprise move on Thursday, withdrew from the trial of a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta (pictured right) who is being prosecuted by the FG for money laundering charges involving over N500m.
Sources close to the prosecution team said the withdrawal of Adeogun-Phillips from Ngwuta’s trial was “a mixture of protest and factors of the recent cold relationship between him and the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation”. .
The protest by the lawyer was said to be against Tuesday’s dropping of charges earlier filed against the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court, Mr. Mr. Ahmed Saleh, and two other officials of the apex court.
The charges withdrawn by the Office of the Attorney General of the Federation against Saleh, Muhammed Abdulrahman Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal involved alleged diversion of N2.2bn belonging to the apex court.
The three Supreme Court officials were also accused of receiving gratifications totalling N74.4m from private contractors who were providing services to the Supreme Court between 2009 and 2016. .
Adeogun-Phillips was engaged by the FG to also lead the prosecution of the apex court’s officials. A source familiar with the handling of the judges’ and court officials’ cases said, “The Chief Registrar case is the biggest among these cases concerning judges but if you notice they were never arraigned.
The claim that they dropped the charges so that he could be used as witness in Ngwuta’s trial is just a facade. The truth is that his evidence is not going to do much in Ngwuta’s case.
Adeogun-Phillips noticed that the FG was not ready to prosecute the Chief Registrar and others because they’re northerners. He asked the authorities, ‘why do you prosecute one and leave the other? If we are fighting corruption let us know we are fighting corruption, if we are not, let us know we are not’.”