Ngwuta gets over N103m as salaries, allowances from 2011 to 2016 – Witness

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A prosecution witness in the on-going trial of Supreme Court judge, Justice Sylvester Ngwuta, on Thursday told a Federal High Court Abuja, that the judge received N103 million as salaries and allowances from 2011 to 2016.

The witness, Mr Ahmed Saleh, the Chief Registrar of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, testified as the second prosecution witness. According to Saleh, he oversees the finances of the Supreme Court and met the defendant in 2011 when he became a Supreme Court justice. Led in evidence by the prosecuting counsel, Mrs Olusegun Fakunle, the witness said that the defendant received N751,047 as monthly salary from 2011 to September 2016.

According to him, the defendant also collects N710,000 as allowances, gets 10,000 pounds annually for medical check-up and another $1,300 per night as estacode. Saleh said that the defendant had collected a little over N103million on allowances and salaries while in service between June/July 2011 and September. 2016. He also said that the defendant travelled five times for medical check-up amounting to 50,000 pounds.

He said that the defendant was also paid a little above N8million for air tickets in addition to $196,000 as total estacode. During cross-examination by the defence counsel, Kanu Agabi (SAN), the witness said that he did not receive any report of the defendant being engaged in a business other than that of the court.

He also said that he did not receive any report challenging the defendant’s competence as a justice of the Supreme Court. When questioned on the issue of justices owning properties, the witness said that there werer no rules governing or restricting them from owning properties. The trial judge, Justice John Tsoho, adjourned continuation of trial till March 17.

Earlier, at the resumed hearing, the prosecutor informed the court that she wished to re-examine the PW1, Mr Linus Nwaba, tender some exhibits and as well as amend some charges filed against the defendant.

When the amended charges were read to the defendant, who was present in court, he pleaded not guilty to the 11 new charges. On re-examination, Nwaba said he could identify the three bags containing the sum of N27million which he removed from the defendant’s house in Abakiliki. Nwaba also said that he spent N23million out of the N27million, which he took from the defendant’s house, as directed by him.

He said that the balance was taken by the officers of Department of State Service (DSS), when he was invited to their office for questioning. The court admitted the three statements made by the witness in the office of the DSS as exhibit 4a, 4b and 4c.

Ngwuta was arraigned on a 16-count charge, bordering on corruption-related offences, money laundering and other financial matters.

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