The Federal Government said on Wednesday before a Federal High Court in Abuja that it had the evidence to prove its case of corrupt enrichment against a Justice Sylvester Ngwuta of the Supreme Court.
Lead prosecuting counsel, Mr. Charles Adeogun-Philips, said this in his opening remarks before calling the first prosecution witness on Wednesday.
The Federal Government is prosecuting Ngwuta on 16 counts, including money laundering and others relating to fraudulent obtaining of multiple passports.
Justice Ngwuta was among judges whose houses were raided by the operatives of the Department of State Service on October 7, 2016.
The security agency said it recovered large sums of money from Ngwuta’s house during the raid.
In his opening speech on Wednesday, the prosecutor said the case filed against the Justice of the Supreme Court “chronicles corrupt enrichment, violations of the money laundering laws of our land, passport fraud, and an attempt to obstruct justice by a judicial officer”.
Adeogun-Philips said, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, “controlled” over N500m between January and October 2016 when his total legitimate earnings, including his allowances, for the year was only about N24m.
He alleged that, from the N500m, the apex court justice transferred dollar equivalent of N313m cash in $100 bills to a building contractor within the period of nine months spanning between January and September, 2016, to “develop several landed properties” for him.
He explained that earlier in 2015, the defendant, within a period of one month, made various cash payments totalling $180,000 to the building contractor.
He also alleged that during the raid on the defendant’s Abuja house by the operatives of the Department of State Service on October 7, 2016, total sums of N38.358m, $319,596 and £25,915 were found in his possession.
He said the Justice of the apex court has no satisfactory explanation for the huge sums of money he was found to have controlled within the year as it is in excess of his legitimate earning.
The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, has accepted written copy of Adeogun-Philips’ opening speech.
The prosecution is about to call its first witness as of the time of filing this report.