Confusion In Court Over Amount Recovered From Judge’s House

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta
Justice Sylvester Ngwuta

There was confusion on Friday at the resumption of the trial of suspended Supreme Court Justice, Sylvester Ngwuta, at the federal high court, Abuja, over the actual amount allegedly recovered during a raid on his residence by operatives of the Department of State Services, DSS.

The DSS had told the court that monies recovered at Ngwuta’s residence include N35,358, 000, among other foreign currencies, which they tendered as evidence.

Presiding Judge, John Tsoho then ordered that the monies be kept in the Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, but not before it was counted at his presence.

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However, after the money were counted, the total amount was N35,335,840, which was N22,160 less than the amount initially quoted by the prosecution. The foreign currencies were complete as quoted.

Justice Tsoho asked the lead prosecutor why the figures were different, to which she replied that she was made to understand that the DSS used a counting machine to count the money. She, however, was not able to explain how the difference came about.

When a prosecution witness, John Utazi, who is also an operative of the DSS, was cross-examined, he insisted that there was no difference between the amount of money tendered before the court and the actual amount that was recovered from the accused person’s house.

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Utazi told the court that he was not present when the money was counted in the court as ordered by the judge.

An attempt by the defence council to tender the report on the figure of the recount as evidence was rejected by the prosecution council.

Following the confusion, Justice Tsoho adjourned the case to July 3 for continuation of hearing.

Justice Sylvester is among several senior Judges whose residences were raided by men of the DSS in October 2016 on allegation of corruption.

He was later suspended by the National Judicial Council, NJC, pending the determination or otherwise of his innocence.