A Lagos High Court at Tafawa Balewa Square, on Thursday, heard how Chidinma Ojukwu charged with the murder of the Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, allegedly transferred N5 million from his bank account.
Ms Ojukwu allegedly transferred the money on 15th June, 2021, the day Mr Ataga died.
The ninth prosecution witness in the trial, Olusegun Bamidele, made this known while testifying in the trial of Ms Ojukwu, a third-year student of Mass Communication, University of Lagos.
Abubakar Muhammed, a security guard at a short-let service apartment, where Mr Ataga was allegedly murdered, had on 16th November, 2021, told the court that Ms Ojukwu left the apartment on the night of 15th June, 2021, and never returned.
He also told the court that Mr Ataga’s dead body was recovered in the apartment the next day.
Ms Ojukwu is standing trial before Justice Yetunde Adesanya for the murder of Mr Ataga.
She is also charged with stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.
Mr Bamidele, a deputy superintendent of police, was led in evidence on Thursday by the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions (DDPP), Adenike Oluwafemi.
Mrs Oluwafemi asked Mr Bamidele to tell the court what he knew about Exhibit P11, which is the Access Bank statement of Mr Ataga.
The witness said that during the investigation into the alleged murder, the police wrote to Access Bank Plc., asking for a statement of the deceased’s account.
Mr Bamidele said the bank obliged.
He said that the mobile phones of the deceased were in Ms Ojukwu’s possession and she had been in control of the account.
Mr Bamidele said that on 15th June, 2021, Ms Ojukwu used the deceased’s phone to transfer N5 million from his account to another bank.
“On June 16, 2021, four transactions of N20,000 was made from the deceased’s account; on June 17, another withdrawal of N20,000 was made five times and the remark was: transfer between customers.
“On the same June 16, N50,000 was transferred to Nkechi Mogbo, N11,200 transferred to Caprical Capital.
“On the same June 16, another N50,000 was transferred from Ataga’s account to Mogbo and N93,000 transferred from Ataga’s GTBank to his Access bank account,” he testified.
He added that N110,000.75kobo was debited from the deceased’s account on 18th June, 2021.
”On June 19, 2021, a transfer of N20,000 was made four times, another transfer of N20,000 was made five times and it was through the USSD code,” Mr Bamidele said.
The witness also told the court that the police wrote to GTBank to get Mr Ataga’s statement of account.
He said that on 13th June, 2021, there was an internet transfer of N10,000 to Ms Ojukwu, adding that N105,000 was transferred to her on the same day for payment of the apartment where Mr Ataga died.
He said the payment was to Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the apartment.
”On that same June 13, there was a N13,000 purchase transaction at Ango Villa; N14, 200 transaction for purchase at Dwine Bar Global. On the same June 13, there was also 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 to Chidinma.
“There was a N5,000 transaction that was made on June 14 and paid to Adiba online choppy,” he said.
When the prosecution sought that written statements of the defendant be admitted in evidence, Ms Ojukwu’s counsel, Onwuka Egwu, objected to the admissibility.
He said that Ms Ojukwu did not make the statements voluntarily.
He said the statements were obtained by oppression, inducement, intimidation, and under duress. The counsel urged the court to test the veracity of the voluntariness of the statements.
The second defendant’s counsel, Babatunde Busari, did not object to the admissibility.Ms Egbuchu’s counsel, M. A. Abia-Bassey, also did not object.
Thus, the prosecution counsel prayed the court to conduct a trial within a trial on that. The judge adjourned the case to 8th November for a trial within trial.
Ms Ojukwu was arraigned alongside Messrs Quadri and Egbuchu on 12th October, 2021, on a nine-count charge preferred against them by Lagos State Government.
Messrs Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements, and stealing.
Ms Egbuchu is facing the ninth count of receiving a stolen iPhone 7 belonging to the late Mr Ataga.
Messrs Ojukwu and Quadri were alleged to have conspired and murdered Mr Ataga on 15th June, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife on the neck and chest.