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 an 11-count charge 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 the 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 aroused my curiosity because they were both valid Nigeria standard passports.
“So, I took permission to go to my office to investigate how an individual could possess two valid international passports and there I discovered that he had declared one of the passports missing”, he said.
Kutana stated further that Ngwuta had reported the loss of his passport which was issued to him on 29 November, 2012 and requested for a new one through a letter dated 5 April, 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 stated that it was based on the letter, police extract and sworn affidavit that the defendant was issued another passport on 20 April, 2016.
The witness said the first international passport with number A04389985 was issued on 29 November, 2012 and to expire 28 November, 2017, contained an American visa issued on 26 August, 2015 and to expire 24 August, 2017.
The replaced one with number A07274634, which was issued on 20 April, 2016 to expire on 19 April, 2021, he said, also had a valid American visa issued on 27 September, 2016 to expire on 25 September, 2018.
He added that it also had a valid British visa issued on the 28 June, 2016 and to expire 28 June, 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 that the defendant had not used the new passport to travel since it was issued him.
He said further that he had never met with Ngwuta before he made his statement at the Department of State Service (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 16 May and 17 May, 2017 for continuation of trial.