The Supreme Court has upheld the December 2017 judgment of the Court of Appeal, Lagos, which quashed the corruption charge against Justice Hyeladzira Ngajiwa of the Federal High Court on the grounds that he was a serving judge.
The Court of Appeal had in its judgment, held that under Section 158 of the Constitution, it is only the National Judicial Council (NJC) that has the power to deal with allegations of misconduct against a serving judge, and that such a judge could only be tried in the regular court after the recommendation of the NJC.
In a judgment on Friday, a seven-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Olukayode Ariwoola, upheld the earlier decision of the Court of Appeal.
The court proceeded to dismiss the appeal by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the agency that was trying Nganjiwa.
The apex court held that the appeal lacked merit.
ýJustice Centus Nweze wrote the lead judgment, which was read by Justice Adamu Jauro.
Other members of the panel are Justices Amina Augie, Uwani Abba-Aji, Helen Ogunwumiju, Jauro and Emmanuel Agim.
The EFCC, in a 14-count charge, accused the judge of receiving $260,000 and N8.65 million “from suspicious sources” through his bank accounts between 2013 and 2015.
It equally accused Justice Nganjiwa of using the money to enrich himself as a public officer, contrary to Section 82 (a) of the Criminal Law of Lagos state, 2011.
The EFCC further accused him of giving false information to its agents
The judge was arraigned before Justice Adedayo Akintoye of the High Court of Lagos State in Igbosere on June 23, 2017, during which he pleaded not guilty.
Justice Nganjiwa later challenged the competence of the charge through a notice of preliminary objection, which the High Court rejected.
On appeal, the Court of Appeal in Lagos upheld his appeal and quashed the charge before the High Court of Lagos, a decision the Supreme Court upheld in its judgment on Friday in the appeal marked: SC/794/2019 filed by the EFCC.