Stories by Vivian Okejeme
A prosecution witness, Tanko Kutana, has revealed to the Federal High Court, Abuja, how the Nigerian Immigration Service replaced the lost passport of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, because the organization had no cause to doubt the affidavit evidence deposed to by the defendant when he reported the loss of the document.
The Supreme Court Justice is being prosecuted by government on charges of money laundering and breach of trust.
Kutana, an employee of the NIS, said a new passport was issued to Justice Ngwuta by the immigration, having been convinced that he actually lost the first one.
The witness told Justice John Tsoho that Ngwuta did not report back to the immigration when he allegedly found his missing passport. Under cross examination by counsel to Justice Ngwuta, Kanu Agabi SAN, the witness told the court that the immigration rules made allowance for genuine mistake, but in the instant case the defendant cannot be said to have made a genuine mistake.
Further in his testimonial, the witness informed the court, that his forensic report showed that Justice Ngwuta was using the two standard passports interchangeable, at the time of his arrested on October 7th 2016 by the operatives of the Department of State Security. Kutana further submitted that ordinarily, the defendant ought to have returned the recovered passport to the immigration when it was found.
The witness, who confirmed that four diplomatic passports and two standard passports were found in the possession of the defendant, said his forensic can alysis on the six passports did not show evidence of forgery.
“I did the analysis on the six passports to determine whether there was forgery and by the time I concluded my analysis of the passports, I found no evidence of forgery in any of them.”
He also admitted not meeting or interrogating the defendant during the cause of his analysis to obtain his own side of the story, because it was not needed.
“There are circumstances under which a citizen can have more than one passport but not two same passports at the same time as in the instant case”
“I ascribe illegality on the two standard passports found with the defendant, because the defendant ought to have returned one of the passports to the immigration,” the witness said. Justice Tsoho adjourned till October 20th, for continuation of trial.