Nigerian Supreme Court judge lied about age, missing diplomatic passport, witness tell court
A prosecution witness in the trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court on Monday told the Federal High Court Abuja, that the defendant lied about his age.
Mr. Ngwuta is standing trial on an amended 13-count charge of alleged corruption related offences, bordering on money laundering and other financial crimes.
He was one of the seven judges accused of corruption by the SSS in October 2016 and whose houses were raided.
On Monday, the witness, Tanko Kutana, a Forensic Document Analysis expert with the Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, alleged that Mr. Ngwuta also lied that his diplomatic passport issued to him in 2014 was missing.
Led in evidence by the prosecutor, Olufemi Fatunde, Mr. Kutana, who was recalled, having earlier testified as prosecution’s 3rd witness, said he investigated the case involving Mr. Ngwuta after officials of the State Security Services searched his house and recovered multiple travel passports.
According to him, while Mr. Ngwuta claimed 1951, as his birth year, in one of the four diplomatic passports recovered in his house, he claimed 1952 in the others.
The witness also said there was doubt as to Mr. Ngwuta’ claim that he lost the diplomatic passport.
Mr. Kutana alleged that there was evidence that Ngwuta continued to use the same passport after he reported it missing and even after the NIS issued a replacement to him.
“My first observation was that the year of birth in the 64-paged passport, issued in 2014 (exhibit 13C) had 1951 as the year of birth, while the other three passports had 1952 as year of birth.
“There is evidence that the defendant continued to use the passport issued in 2014 which he claimed he lost, thereby casting doubt about his claims.
“He filled 1952 as his birth date on the new diplomatic passport issued to him.”
The defence counsel, Kanu Agabi, asked for an adjournment to enable him go through the witness testimony for cross examination.
The judge, John Tsoho, adjourned the matter until October 6 for cross examination.