Controversy surrounds money recovered from Justice Ngwuta

Counting of the sums of money allegedly recovered from the official residence of a Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, and which were ordered by a Federal High Court in Abuja, to be deposited in the Central Bank of Nigeria on Thursday, has revealed a discrepancy of a total amount of N22,160.

Justice John Tsoho, before whom Ngwuta is being prosecuted on money laundering and passport fraud charges, disclosed on Friday that while the prosecution claimed to have tendered N35,358,000, the counting witnessed by representatives of the court and parties in the case on Thursday, revealed that the amount actually tendered was N35,335,840.

The judge said this while informing the court about the report of the counting submitted to him shortly after proceedings commenced on Friday.

There were no problems with the money in other currencies.

The prosecution had through the leader of the Department of State Service’s search team, Mr. John Utazi, that allegedly recovered the various sums of money in local and foreign currencies from Ngwuta’s house, tendered the money before the court as exhibits earlier on Thursday.

The money was contained in nine bags and boxes.

Out of the nine items, eight of them contained naira notes, which Utazi said totaled N35,358,000.

He said the ninth bag contained £25,915; $319,596 (USD); R50 (South African rands); €280 (euros); 380 ( dirhams); and 420 dalasis.

The items were opened during the Thursday’s proceedings to reveal the content but the counting in the presence of the representatives of the court and parties to the case was done after court proceedings on Thursday.

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

“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”