Alex Enumah in Abuja
Tanko Nuhu Kutana, the third prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of a Supreme Court judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta MondayÂ told a Federal High Court in Abuja, that Justice Ngwuta used two valid diplomatic passports interchangeable on trips to different countries.
Tanko Kutana, an immigration officer attached to the Benue State Command made the disclosure yesterday at the resumed trial of Ngwuta who is being prosecuted by the federal government over allegations of money laundering and illegal possession of two valid international passports at the same time.
At the resumed trial, the witness who was led in evidence by prosecution counsel, Olufemi Fatunde, also informed the court that the defendant used different years, 1951 and 1952 as his date of birth for the purpose of procuring diplomatic passport.
Kutana further told the trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, that justice Ngwuta used the two valid diplomatic passports he obtained from the immigration service interchangeably to travel to different countries against the law.
According to the witness, Justice Ngwuta had on April 5, 2016 wrote to the NIS through the Supreme Court reporting the loss of his passport, and was issued a replacement on May 13, 2016.
The said passport, he added was issued in 2014 with expiry date on Nov 29, 2017.
Testifying further, the witness said checks in 2016, however showed that Ngwuta was still making use of the missing passport while retaining the new one.
He explained that Ngwuta travelled to different African and European countries with the two valid documents.
â€œWhen he was issued the 64 page passport in 2014, he continued to use the 64 pages of the new passport interchangeably, and he did not return it for cancellation.
Kutana said further that the different dates of birth claimed by the defendant in the two passports created doubts as to the loss of the 2014 passport.
At the end of his testimony, trial judge, Justice John Tsoho adjourned till October 6, for his cross examination of the witness and continuation of trial.
The federal government is prosecuting Justice Ngwuta on a 14- count charge bordering on alleged money laundering and unlawful possession of two valid diplomatic passports.
The offence bordering on alleged possession of two valid passports is said to be contrary to section 10 subsection(1a) and (d) of the Immigration Act 2015 and punishable under section 10 subsection(1) of the Act.