DSP Olusegun Bamidele, a witness in the trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, has given testimony in court.
Bamidele, the ninth prosecution witness in the murder case of Usifo Ataga, has told a Lagos High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square how the prime suspect Chidinma Ojukwu transferred the sum of N5 million from the Super TV Chief Executive Officer’s bank account the day she allegedly stabbed him to death.
Testifying before the High Court on Thursday, Bamidele explained to the court how the 300-level Mass Communication undergraduate of the University of Lagos transferred N5 million from Ataga’s account to another account on June 15, 2021.
The security guard of the short let service apartment, Abubakar Mohammed, where Ataga was murdered during his evidence before the court on November 16, 2021, said that Chidinma left the apartment on a Tuesday night, which was June 15, 2021, and never returned there.
The security guard also informed the court that it was on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, that the dead body of Ataga was discovered.
Chidinma who is standing trial before Justice Yetunde Adesanya for the alleged murder of Ataga is also charged with stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu and one Adedapo Quadri.
Chidinma was arraigned alongside Quadri and Egbuchu on October 12, 2021, on nine counts of murder by the Lagos State Government.
Whereas Chidinma and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements and stealing, Egbuchu is facing the ninth count of receiving a stolen iPhone 7 belonging to the late Super TV CEO.
According to the charges against them, Chidinma and Quadri were alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife in the neck and chest.
On Thursday, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DDPP), Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, at the resumed hearing of the case told the court that the matter was for continuation of trial.
During the continuation of the trial, Bamidele who had not finished giving evidence was ushered into the witness box during which the DPP, Oluwafemi asked for exhibit P11, which is the Access Bank Statement of Ataga.
She asked the witness to tell the court why he had the bank statements of the deceased.
Responding, Bamidele told the court that during the course of the investigation and in a bid to know what could have motivated the first defendant (Chidinma) to kill the Super TV CEO, the police wrote Access Bank asking for the bank statement of the deceased and a copy was given to them.
Bamidele further explained that from a close look at the copies of the bank statements coupled with the fact that the phones of the deceased were already in the possession of the first defendant, who had been in control of the account, it was discovered that on June 15, 2021, the first defendant used the deceased's phone to transfer N5 million from his account to another bank.
Continuing, the witness said, “On June 16, 2021, four transactions of N20,000 were made from the deceased's account and on June 17, another withdrawal of N20,000 was made five times and the remarks were ‘transfer between customers’.
“On the same June 16, N50,000 was transferred to Nkechi Mogbo, another N11,200 of the fund was also transferred to Caprical Capital, on the same June 16, another N50,000 was transferred from Ataga's account to Mogbo and another N93,000 transferred from Ataga's GTBank to his Access Bank account. A transfer of N110,000.75 was debited from the deceased's account on June 18, 2021.
"On June 19, 2021, a transfer of N20,000 was made four times on that same day another transfer of N20,000 was made five times and it was through the USSD code."
Bamidele further explained they wrote to GTBank to get Ataga's statement of account, and that on June 13, 2021, there was an internet transfer of N10,000 to Chidinma, another N105,000 was also transferred to Chidinma on the same day for payment of the short let service apartment, paid to Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the apartment.
"On that same June 13, there was N13,000 purchase transaction at Ango Villa, N14,200 transaction for purchase at Dwine Bar global, on the same June 13, there was a transfer of N20,399.
"On June 14, 2021, there was N21,000 transfer from Ataga's account to Chidinma's account and another transfer of N15,000 paid to Chidinma, there was a N5,000 transaction that was made on June 14 and paid to Adiba Online choppy."
It was gathered that when the prosecution sought to admit the written statements of the defendants, Chidinma's counsel, Onwuka Egwu, objected to the admissibility of the document and argued that the first defendant (Chidinma) did not make the statements voluntarily.
The lawyer said the statements were obtained by oppression, inducement, intimidation and under duress and therefore prayed the court to test the veracity of the voluntariness of the statements.
Meanwhile, the counsel for the second defendant, Babatunde Busari, did not object, and the counsel for the third defendant, Miss M. A. Abia-Bassey also did not object.
But the prosecutor prayed the court to conduct a trial within the trial for Chidinma.
After listening to both parties, Justice Adesanya adjourned the case to November 8, for trial within the trial.