Judge declares N22,160.00 “missing” from N35m recovered Justice Ngwuta
From: Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The ongoing trial of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court is enmeshed in some controversy as to whether N22, 000. 00 was missing from the total sum of N35, 358. 000 that was allegedly recovered from the Abuja official residence of the Judge.
While the prosecution claimed to have tendered in court, the sum of N35, 358,000 allegedly recovered from the residence of the defendant, the team that counted the money in court revealed that the actual total of the recovered money tendered in court was N35, 335, 840, showing a difference of N22. 160. 00.
The prosecution counsel, Mrs. Olufemi Fatunde had through Mr. John Utazi, an operative with the Department of State Security Service (DSS), who led the search team that allegedly recovered the various sums of money from Ngwuta’s house, on Thursday, tendered the money before the court as exhibits.
The money which was contained in nine bags and boxes was in both local and foreign currencies.
Specifically, out of the nine items, eight of them contained naira notes, which Utazi said amounted to N35,358,000.
The witness further told Justice John Tsoho that the ninth bag contained £25,915; $319,596 (USD); R50 (South African rands); €280 (euros); 380 ( dirhams); and 420 dalasis.
Thereafter, the court ordered that the money be counted in the presence of the representative of both parties.
When the matter resumed yesterday, Justice John Tsoho revealed that the report of the counting submitted to him showed a discrepancy of a total amount of N22,160, while adding that there were no problems with the money in other currencies.
But under cross-examination by the lead defence counsel, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN), on Friday, Utazi insisted that the amount he delivered to the court was N35,358,000, which he earlier claimed and not N35,335,840 which the report of the counting revealed.
Utazi said, “What I delivered to the exhibit keeper yesterday (Thursday) was N35,358,000.”
When asked, he said, “I was not present when the money was counted.”
When pressed to answer if he disagreed with the report of the counting, Utazi said, “What I delivered N35,358,000.
“I stand by what I delivered to the court. I meticulously counted the money.I don’t know whether to agree or not but what I delivered to the court was N35,358,000”