How Justice Ngwuta Concealed Facts from Investigators – Witness

A Prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Supreme Court Judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, Wednesday told the court how the defendant first lied to operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) on his hidden assets.
An operative of the DSS, Aminu Ibrahim Ndakpoto, told a Federal High Court in Abuja, that when Ngwuta’s house was searched in Abuja, a document detailing expenses amounting to $300,000 and signed by one Ogudu Nwaneri and bank document which showed that the sum of N20m was deposited in the defendant’s account by the same Nwaneri, were recovered.
He said Ngwuta first owned up the various sums of money found in the house, saying the money were savings from his medical allowance, which he didn’t use because he was not sick, but later said the money did not belong to him but that the bags were his.
Ndakpoto said attempt by the DSS to find out the nexus between him and Nwaneri and was resisted by Justice Ngwuta, who, according to the DSS operative, refused to obliged the DSS
According to Ndakpoto, “When he was presented with the documents, the defendant said he relied on his constitutional rights not to say anything. I explained to him that out of the documents from the Union Bank, was deposit of N20m by one Ogudu Nwaneri. We wanted to know why Nwaneri deposited the money, he said he relied on his constitutional rights not to say anything. I informed my superior. On that note we sought the attention of Nwaneri, the depositor.”
He continued: Nwaneri, at first refused our invitation to him through text message, we then informed our colleagues in Ebonyi who arrested him and brought him to Abuja.
“When he was brought and word of caution was read to him, he said he was an architect by training and build houses. And he also runs errands for the defendant.
“Precisely, the documents that show how money he was given was shown to him and he said all monies, mostly in foreign currencies were given to him in defendant’s house in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State.
“He made us to understand that the money was given to him in cash. I asked him the money he deposited in the defendant’s Union Bank account, how did you come about it? He said the money, $100000 was given to be converted into naira and after the conversion, he deposited part of the money, N20m in his account. And he said the total money given to him was $300000 and the defendant asked him to record how he spent the money”
He said the document recovered from the defendan’s house was the one he (Ngwuta) asked him to record how he spent the money that he, the defendant, gave him (Nwaneri).
“He said he was building a house for the defendant but the defendant along the line said the building didn’t suit his taste and asked him to demolish part of it. He said part of the money was used to meet domestic need of the defendant’s children,” the witness said.
Ndakpoto further narrated how he and others were sent to Abakiliki, the Ebonyi State capital to carry search on a house own by the defendant.
He said: “We were sent to Abakiliki based on the testimony of Linus Nwanbuka, that when the defendant was arrested he called him to go to his bedroom and that there were bags in the room, that contain documents and money and that he should take away the bags. Linus said the defendant told him that if the DSS lay their hands on the bags, he, the defendant would be in trouble.
“Linus said he was also asked to move away some vehicles from the compound. When we got to Abakiliki Linus led us to where he kept the money. The bags contain documents and money. In the presence of Linus and others, we searched the house and recovered bags containing property documents showing ownership of properties transferred to the defendant. When the money was counted it was N4n. Linus told us the money was about N27m and that he spent about N23m for his projects he was doing for him. Linus said the defendant told him to run away after hiding the bags.”
The matter continues Thursday.
Operatives of the DSS raided Justice Ngwuta’s Abuja official residence in October 2016 along with some other judges.
The DSS later claimed to have recovered bags packed with cash, including foreign currencies (all estimated at N36m) in the Judge’s house while executing a search warrant.
Justice Ngwuta is being tried on a 13-count charge of money laundering and unlawful possession of multiple passports.

Author: News Editor

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