Ngwuta’s prosecutor ‘fired’ over conflict of interest - AGF | Nigeria News Today. Your online Nigerian Newspaper f

Charles Adeogun-Phillips, lead prosecutor in the suit against supreme court judge Sylvester Ngwuta, did not withdraw from the case but was sacked, the Nigerian government has said.

Salisu Isah, special adviser on media to the attorney-general of the federation, Abubakar Malami, in a statement issued on Sunday, said Adeogun-Phillips was removed by the National Prosecution Coordination Committee (NPCC) for alleged unprofessional conduct.

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

Adeogun-Phillips had on February 9 at the resumed hearing of the case, announced his withdrawal but did not give any reason for his action.

Isah said that Adeogun-Phillips’ claim that he voluntarily withdrew from the case was false.

He said that the NPCC that engaged the services of Adeogun-Phillips withdrew the fiat issued to him to prosecute the case over non-disclosure of conflict of interest.

“Contrary to the impression given by Charles Adeogun-Phillips, the lead prosecutor in the suit against supreme court judge, Justice Sylvester Nwali Ngwuta, in various reports suggesting that he withdrew from the case on his own volition, the National Prosecution Coordination Committee that engaged his services actually withdrew the fiat issued to him to prosecute the case — over non-disclosure of conflict of interests and for other sundry reasons,” the statement read.

“The reports in a section of the media last Friday 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, Muhammad Abdulrahman Sharif and Rilwanu Lawal, which he is also handling for the federal government, 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.

“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.”

Olufemi Fatunde, a former director of public prosecutions of the federation, has been assigned to take over from Adeogun-Phillips.

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