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How I received N313 million from Ngwuta, witness tells court


Justice Sylvester Ngwuta during his arraignment at the   Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, November 21, 2016. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

Justice Sylvester Ngwuta during his arraignment at the Federal High Court in Abuja on Monday, November 21, 2016. PHOTO: LUCY LADIDI ELUKPO

Linus Chukwuebuka, the first prosecution witness in the trial of Supreme Court Judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, yesterday gave account of how he was paid N313 million cash for Ngwuta’s housing projects in various parts of Abakaliki.

The witness also told the Federal High Court how he helped the judge to move millions of naira and other properties from his residence in Abakaliki, following the arrest of Ngwuta last October by the Department of State Security Services (DSS).

Ngwuta is currently facing a 16-count charge bothering on corruption, money laundering and other financial crimes leveled against him by the Federal Government.At the resumed hearing yesterday, the witness, a civil engineer, revealed how he was engaged by the defendant to construct several projects.


Led in evidence by Prosecution Counsel, Charles Adeogun Philips, the witness acknowledged that Ngwuta was his customer who retained his services to build houses for him in Ebonyi State.

According to him, he first met the defendant on December 31, 2015 at Ngwuta’s private residence at Engineering Close, off One Road, Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, where he was introduced by one Kenneth, who told him the judge was in need of a reputable person or firm to handle some construction works for him.

Following the presentation of designs and quotations for the job, which he said was pleasing to the defendant, he was mobilized with the sum of N40 million cash to commence work.

According to the witness, he had presented a bill of N148 million for the job but the defendant said he would only pay N130 million. When asked the nature of payment, the witness said he received N25 million in cash while he got the remaining N15 million in dollar equivalent.

He however said there was no formal contract document for the project except for his quotation papers and notes that were made by the defendants to him.Apart from the first project, the witness told the court how he was further engaged to construct projects in two other areas in Ebonyi State.

The second project, which was put at a cost of N165 million was given to him sometime in April, 2016, and that he had so far received a total of N100 million cash also in local and foreign currencies.

The third project, he stated, involved demolition of a poorly-built structure cost N110 million. He was given N53 million cash while N30 million was paid through interbank transfer. When asked by the prosecution if he ever entertained any fear over the cash transaction between him and the defendant, the witness said he did and at one occasion, shared his fear but he was told the monies were from legitimate sources and savings, which according to him, included proceeds from overseas conferences for Supreme Court judges, other conferences and savings from salaries.

On the role he played during the arrest of the defendant in October, the witness told the court that he first learnt of the arrest by a friend, who drew his attention to a newspaper publication of October 8, 2016.

He however stated that the defendant contacted him on October 9, with an unfamiliar number instructing him to go to his house and move some items. On how he became a witness in the case, Chukwuebuka said he was arrested and interrogated on November 10, 2016 by the DSS, which has been monitoring his activities.The matter has been adjourned till February 9, for continuation of trial and cross-examination of the witness.

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