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‘Why we replaced Justice Ngwuta’s passport’

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The prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the Supreme Court Justice, Mr. Tanko Kutana, told the court that a new Passport was issued to the Justice by the Immigration on the conviction that he actually lost the first one.   PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), yesterday explained before the Federal High Court in Abuja, the reason it replaced the lost International Passport of Justice Sylvester Ngwuta.

The prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of the Supreme Court Justice, Mr. Tanko Kutana, told the court that a new Passport was issued to the Justice by the Immigration on the conviction that he actually lost the first one.

According to him, the Service had no cause to doubt the affidavit evidence deposed to by the defendant when he reported the loss of the document. The witness further told Justice John Tsoho that Ngwuta did not report back to the Service when he allegedly found his missing Passport.

Kutana, who was cross-examined by counsel to Ngwuta, Mr. Kanu Agabi (SAN), told the court that the Immigration rules made allowance for genuine mistake, but that in the instant case, the defendant cannot be said to have made a genuine mistake.

He further informed the court that his forensic report showed that Ngwuta was using the two standard Passports interchangeably, at the time of his arrest on October 7, last year by operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS).

Kutana stated that ordinarily, the Supreme Court Justice ought to have returned the recovered Passport to the Immigration when he later found it. The witness, who confirmed that four Diplomatic Passports and two Standard Passports were found in the possession of the defendant, however, stated that his forensic analysis 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 said.

The witness also admitted that he did not meet or interrogate the defendant during the cause of his analysis, so as 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 ascribed illegality on the two Standard Passports found with the defendant, because the defendant ought to have returned one of the Passports to the Immigration,” he added.

The trial has been adjourned until October 20, this year.



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