Ade Adesomoju, Abuja

The Federal Government may soon start filing charges relating to breach of code of conduct for public officers against some judges, The PUNCH have learnt.

Our correspondent gathered that the Federal Government was finalising its plans to arraign the judges before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

According to a top source in the Federal Ministry of Justice, the judges lined up for trial before the CCT are part of those whose houses were raided by the operatives of the Department of State Services between October 7 and 8, 2016. Among the judges, the Federal Government, through the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, has already preferred money laundering and gratification charges against Justice Sylvester Ngwuta before the Federal High Court, Abuja.

Ngwuta, was on November 21, 2016, arraigned before Justice John Tsoho and his trial was subsequently adjourned till December 7.

The Federal Government had also charged a judge of the Federal High Court in Abuja, Justice Adeniyi Ademola, and his wife, Olabowale, with gratification offences before the High Court of the Federal Capital Territory.

But the couple have yet to appear in court.

It was also learnt that  the Federal Government would soon file charges against a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Inyang Okoro, who was among the judges whose houses were raided on allegation of corruption by the DSS.

Our correspondent gathered that the Federal Government was considering filing more charges against some of the judges before the regular courts and the CCT.

A top source in the Federal Ministry of Justice told our correspondent that government’s investigators had uncovered some assets linked to some of the judges but were not declared by them in breach of various provisions of the Code of Conduct and Tribunal Act.

Some of the judges were also said to have failed to declare their assets in violation of the CCB/T Act.

The source said, “We have analysed the asset declaration forms which the judges submitted to the Code of Conduct Bureau and we have seen a lot of breaches that we are going to take against them before the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

“We have been able to link them to some assets that they have never declared.

“In fact, some of them failed to declare their assets over a long period of time.

“By the time we are through with the analysis of the various asset forms, we will still have to file appropriate charges against the culpable ones before the CCT.”

Speaking with our correspondent on Saturday, the Chairman of the CCB, Mr. Sam Saba, confirmed that the AGF office had, in January, requested the asset declaration forms of all categories of judges from the Supreme Court to the High Court.

When asked if he was aware of the plan by the AGF to prosecute some of the judges, Saba said no information had been referred to him since the asset forms were sent to the AGF office in January.

The CCB boss explained that the AGF was not under any obligation to disclose such plan.

He said, “I was even asked at the National Assembly some days ago that (whether the AGF requested the judges’ asset declaration forms) and I gave my answer in the affirmative.

“They (AGF office) asked for the judges’ asset declaration forms as far back as the first week of January this year. The forms requested were for all the Justices of the Supreme Court, Justices of the Court of Appeal, state High Court judges, judges of the Federal High Court and the rest of the judges.

“The fact of the matter is that nothing was, again, referred to us after that.

“Your question (whether the judges will be prosecuted before the CCT) was still asked by the committee of the House of Representatives. And I told them that the AGF does not owe me any explanation to tell me what he was doing.”

Spokesperson for the AGF, Mr. Salihu Isah, could not be reached for his comment on Monday.

Repeated calls made to his telephone indicated that the line was unreachable.

Copyright PUNCH.