Money Laundering: How Justice Ngwuta ‘criminally’ tampered with exhibits–FG

  • ngwutaNarrates how he attempted to conceal N27m cash, exotic cars from operatives
  • No, he is a man of honour-Kanu Agabi (SAN)

The Federal Government on Monday strongly opposed grant of bail to a justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta who is standing trial on a 16-count charge of money-laundering, saying he has a criminal tendency to jeopardize his trial.

The government which gave life to its allegation told the court on Monday after the Supreme Court judge had entered his plea that the judge, on October 9, 2016, tampered with evidence likely to incriminate him while on the administrative bail of the Department of State Service.

Specifically, the Federal Government said after men of the DSS raided his house in Abuja alongside others, Justice Ngwuta allegedly tampered with a cash sum of N27m and three exotic cars.

The prosecution alleged that on the said date (November 9, 2016,) Justice Ngwuta made a call to someone in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, to move a sum of N27m cash and three exotic cars to some other locations in order to conceal them.

The cars, which were said to have been recovered by the DSS from where they were moved to, were a Hummer Jeep, a Wrangler Jeep, and a BMW 5 Series sedan.

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The government, however, stated that the N27m cash along with some vital documents moved in bags from the bathroom of the Abakaliki home of the justice of the apex court was not recovered because it had been “dissipated”.

It would be recalled that men of the DSS had raided homes of serving judges in the country including those belonging to two justices of the Supreme Court, carting away various exhibits.

The then Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed had intervened in their case to get them on bail.

Justice Ngwuta was accused to have committed the offence of hiding exhibits from the operatives on October 9.

The allegation was contained in a counter affidavit filed by government to oppose Ngwuta’s bail application.

Former Attorney-General of the Federation, Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN) represented Justice Ngwuta in court on Monday.

He rose in stout defence of the Supreme Court jurist on Monday, assuring the court that the judge is a man of honour who wou’d not do anything to pervert or evade justice.

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Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips presented the case of the Federal Government in law court Thursday.

In the counter affidavit deposed to by Mr. Ganau Wando, an official of the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions of the Federation, the Federal Government said, “That whilst on administrative bail between October 9 and 21, 2016, the defendant/applicant committed further offences.

“That, in particular, following his arrest on October 7, 2016, and subsequent release on administrative bail on October 9, 2016, the defendant/applicant sought to obstruct the proper administration of justice, having tampered with the evidence likely to incriminate him in criminal acts by engaging one Mr. Nwamba Linus Chukwuebuka through a telephone call on October 10, 2016, to remove the properties from his private residence located at Engineering Close, Off Onwe Road, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State. The properties are as follows:

“A bag located in the defendant/applicant’s bathroom containing some vital documents which was initially concealed by Mr. Chukwuebuka at the residence of one Abraham Ezeani in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on or about October 9, 2016, and subsequently recovered from there by investigators from the DSS in November 2016.

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“A bag located in the defendant/applicant’s bathroom containing the sum of N27m in cash which was initially concealed by Mr. Chukwuebuka at the residence of one Abraham Ezeani in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on or about October 9, 2016, following which it was subsequently dissipated by Mr. Chukwuebuka on the direct instructions of the defendant/applicant.”

The counter-affidavit added that the Hummer Jeep Sports Utility Vehicle, Wrangler Jeep Sports Utility Vehicle and BMW 5 Series Vehicle were “previously located in the compound of the defendant/applicant’s private home in Abakaliki and initially concealed by Mr. Chukwuebuka at the residence of an aunt to Chukwuebuka in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on or about October 9, 2016, and subsequently recovered from there by investigators from the DSS in November 2016.

Notwithstanding the opposition of the Federal Government, Justice Ngwuta was not only granted bail in th sum of N100million on Monday, it was also on self recognition.

He was not even to produce any surety in court.