More Trouble For Justice Ngwuta As FG Files Additional Charges
It is more trouble for Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court, as the Federal Government, yesterday, expanded corruption charges against him from nine to 14. Government, through the office of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN, entered the amended charge before the Federal High Court in Abuja.
The amended charges with case number FHC/ABJ/CR/232/2016, raised the number of counts from 10 to 14, alleging that the sum of N505m was part of the proceeds of Ngwuta’s “unlawful” activities.
The prosecution alleged that the Justice of the Supreme Court transferred the total sum of N130m to Nwamba Linus Chukwuebuka, a building contractor, on January 4, 2016.
Ngwuta was also accused of transferring the sum of N165m to Chukwuebuka “on or about April 2016”.
He was further accused of transferring another sum of N100m to Chukwuebuka “on or about April 2016”.
He was also charged with transferring the sum of N110m to the same person “on or about May, 2016”.
As alleged in the old set of charges, Ngwuta was accused in the amended charges of retaining N35,358,000; $319,596 and £25,915 during the raid on his house by the operatives of the Department of State Services between October 7 and 8.
The various sums of money were also described as proceeds of “an unlawful activity”.
The offences were said to be contrary to Section 15 (2) (d) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011 (as amended) and punishable under section 15(3) of the same Act.
The charge indicated that operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS, had at the end of a search operation conducted at Ngwuta’s official residence, recovered several sums of cash, including the sum of Thirty-Five Million, Three Hundred and Fifty-Eight Thousand Naira (NGN35,358,000.00); Three Hundred and Nineteen Thousand, Five Hundred and Ninety- Six United States Dollars ($319,596.00); as well as Twenty-Five Thousand Nine Hundred and Fifteen Pounds Sterling (GBP 25,915) and Two Hundred and Eighty Euros (EURO 280.00).
It said the search also revealed about four Diplomatic passports, one official and two standard Nigerian passports all in the name of the defendant.
The justice of the apex court was also accused of “knowingly making a false statement to the Passport Office concerning his date of birth for the purpose of procuring an additional diplomatic passport” for himself in violation of Section 10 (1) (c) of the Immigration Act.
He was also accused of submitting multiple application forms to one or more passport offices “with the intention of obtaining multiple diplomatic passports” for himself in violation of Section 10 (1) (d) of the Immigration Act 2015 and punishable under Section 10 (1) of the same Act.
The Justice of the Supreme Court was also accused of knowingly making a false statement to “passport office concerning the loss” of his diplomatic passport with number D50000087 on April 5, 2016.
In another count, he was accused of committing a similar offence concerning the loss of his Nigerian passport with number A04389985 on the same date of April 5, 2016.
According to the proof of evidence accompanying the charges, the prosecution has lined up five witnesses against the Justice of the Supreme Court.
They are Aminu N. Ibrahim, Ngo Awoikiega, Tanko Nuhu Kutana, Ogudu Nwadire and Nwamba Chukwuebuka.
Ibrahim is “to testify on the search conducted on the defendant’s residence on or about 7/8 October 2016”.
Awoikiega is “to testify on the investigation/interrogation of the defendant”.
Kutana, an immigration officer, “is to testify on the multiple diplomatic and Nigerian Passports obtained by the defendant”.
Nwadire is “to testify on how as an architect to the defendant between 2014 and 2016, he handled several projects for which he received cash payments totalling $100,000”.
Chukwuebuka is “to testify on how as a building contractor to the defendant between 2014 and 2016, he handled several projects for which he received cash payments from the defendant totalling $1,000,000”.
Justice Ngwuta was among the judges, whose houses were raided by the operatives of the Department of State Services between October 7 and 8.
The DSS alleged that it discovered large sums of money in foreign and local currencies from the raid.