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How I Handled Building Contracts for Justice Ngwuta – Witness


A prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Supreme Court Judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, told the court on Wednesday how the embattled Judge paid him various sums of money running into hundreds of millions of naira to build sets of houses for him.
The witness, Linus Chukwuebuka, a building contractors, said the houses were built in the Abakaliki and Onicha areas of Ebonyi State
He also said he was paid the money over a period of nine months.
Chukwuebuka, who was testifying as the first prosecution witness said he was paid both through bank transfer and in cash – naira and dollar currencies.
He said the first project was worth N130m, the second N165m and the third N110m, totalling N405m.
According to him, the first project which was negotiated from N148m to N130m and commenced in January 2016, comprised a storey building library block, a four-bedroom bungalow (all self-contained), recovery of a swampy plot and making it habitable, two four-bedroom duplexes detached, a garage “to house some vehicles” and a perimeter fencing of the structures “to connect them with the existing one”.
He said the second project located on Onwe Road, Abakaliki, which commenced in April 2016 and was quoted to cost N165m, comprised the demolition of a dilapidated storey-building, sand-filling of the area “to attain a reasonable level because it was very deep down the road and the erection of four units of four-bedroom duplexes for commercial purposes.”
He said the third project worth N110m was located in Amofia-Ukawu, Onicha Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
He said the third project consisted the reconstruction of a poorly built structure, erection of another duplex with a penthouse, a boys’ quarter, painting, decoration, fencing, the gate house and power house.
Speaking on how he was paid for the jobs, the witness said he first met Ngwuta on December 31, 2015 to discuss the first project and by January 4, 2016, he was mobilised with N40m cash given to him by the Judge to commence work.
He said by October 2016 he had met the 10-month deadline and had been fully paid the total sum of N130m.
He said after the first payment of N40m, the balance was handed to him in cash (naira and dollars) instalments by the Judge at the various stages of the project.
He said for the second project which commenced in June 2016 without any specific deadline in view, he had been paid by the Judge the sum of N100m in cash out of the agreed cost of N165m.
Earlier, the lead prosecuting counsel, Charles Adeogun-Philips, said the Federal Government has enough proof to nail Justice Ngwuta.
The Federal Government is prosecuting Ngwuta on 16 counts, including money laundering and others relating to fraudulent obtaining of multiple passports.
Justice Ngwuta was among the Judges whose houses were raided by the operatives of the Department of State Service on October 7, 2016.
The DSS said it recovered large sums of money from Ngwuta’s house during the raid.
Adeogun-Philips said the case filed against the Justice of the Supreme Court “chronicles corrupt enrichment, violations of the money laundering laws of our land, passport fraud, and an attempt to obstruct justice by a judicial officer”.
He said, Justice Ngwuta, “controlled” over N500m between January and October 2016 when his total legitimate earnings, including his allowances, for the year was only about N24m.
He alleged that, from the N500m, the apex court Justice transferred dollar equivalent of N313m cash in $100 bills to the building contractor within the period of nine months spanning between January and September, 2016, to “develop several landed properties” for him.
The trial Judge, Justice John Tsoho adjourned the matter till February 9 for the cross-examination of the witness by defence lawyer, Chief Kanu Agabi.

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