A Federal High Court in Abuja was on Friday told how a Justice of the Supreme Court, Sylvester Ngwuta obtained multiple passports.
Nwuta is facing eleven count charges bordering on corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes, preferred against him by the Federal Government.
Giving evidence in the trial of Justice Ngwuta before Justice John Tsoho of a Federal High Court in Abuja, third prosecution witness, Mr Tanko Kutana, a Deputy Controller of Immigration said he was directed by the Comptroller-General of Immigration to examine Ngwuta’s documents in the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation.
While being led in evidence by the prosecution counsel, Mrs. Olufemi Fatunle, the witness said, “I was in my office which is the forensic investigative arm of the immigration service on December 7, 2016 when I was summoned to the office of my comptroller general.
“From the office of comptroller general, I was directed to proceed to the office of the Attorney-General of the Federation (AGF) to examine some travel documents, specifically passports,” he said.
He said, at the AGF’s office, he was given some passports to examine, among which were one diplomatic passport, two international passports and one e-passport.
“I examined the two International passports which had Ngwuta’s name on it and I found out that they were validly issued passports.
“The two International passports arouse my curiosity because they were both valid Nigeria standard passports.
“So I took permission to go to my office to investigation how an individual can possess two valid international passports and there I discovered that he had declared one of the passports missing,” he said.
Kutana further stated that Ngwuta had reported the loss of his passport which was issued to him on November 29, 2012 and requested for a new one through a letter dated April 5, 2016.
He said a sworn affidavit was attached with the letter by the defendant, stating the loss of the said passport and also a police extract from the police diary domiciled at the Supreme Court.
He further stated that it was based on the letter, police extract and sworn affidavit that the defendant was issued another passport on April 20, 2016.
The witness said the first international passport with number A04389985 was issued on November 29, 2012 and to expire November 28, 2017, contained an America visa issued on August 26, 2015 and to expire August 24, 2017.
While the replaced one with number A07274634 which was issued on April 20, 2016 to expire on April 19, 2021 also had a valid America visa issued on September 27, 2016 to expire on September 25, 2018.
He added that it also had a valid British visa issued on the June 28, 2016 and to expire June 28, 2018.
The two international passports, sworn affidavit and police extract were all tendered in evidence by the prosecutor.
During cross examination by the defence counsel, Mr Kanu Agabi (SAN), the witness said the two passports were still valid because they had not expired and there was no endorsement for cancellation on them, adding also that the defendant had not used the new passport to travel since it was issued him.
He further said that he had never met with Ngwuta before he made his statement at DSS and the office of the AGF.The witness added that as a forensic investigator, he was not expected to see the owner of a document before giving his opinion.
Agabi sought to know from the witness if there was evidence to show that the two international passports were used interchangeably, but he said no
The judge adjourned the matter till May 16 and 17, 2017 for continuation of trial.