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The ninth prosecution witness, Olusegun Bamidele, in the ongoing trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, accused of the murder of the chief executive officer (CEO) of Super TV, Usifo Ataga, has told the court that the defendant withdrew a total sum of N5.5 million from the deceased’s account.

Bamidele, who led a team of policemen to investigate the murder, told Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Tafawa Balewa Square that the withdrawals were done through various transfers from Ataga’s mobile phone between June 15, 2021 (the day of the murder) and June 19, 2021.

Chidinma was arraigned before the court alongside one Adedapo Quadri on an eight-counts bordering on the offences of murder, forgery and stealing.

The state also arraigned Chidinma’s sister, Chioma Egbuchu, from whom the late Ataga’s iPhone 7, was said to have been recovered on one count of receiving stolen property.

They all pleaded not guilty to the charge.

When the matter was called for hearing yesterday, Bamidele, who was led in evidence by the deputy director of public prosecutions (DDPP), Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, told Justice Adesanya, that the police discovered the withdrawals after they analysed Ataga’s Access Bank account.

The witness told the court that during the investigation and in a bid to establish the motive of the first defendant for the alleged crime, they wrote Access Bank asking for the bank statement of the deceased and a copy was sent to them.

He also testified that from their analysis of the bank statements they discovered that the defendant had used the deceased mobile phone with her to make withdrawals including buying airtime for her phone.

Bamidele stated that they discovered that the defendant on June 15 used the deceased’s mobile phone to transfer N5 million from his account to another bank.

The witness further claimed, “On June 16, 2021, four transactions of N20,000 each were made from the deceased’s account and on June 17, another five withdrawals of N20,000 each were also made by Chidinma.

“On the same day, the defendant made a transfer of N50,000 two times to Nkech Mogbo, another transfer of N11,200 was also made to Caprical Capital, while the sum of N93,000 was transferred from Ataga’s Gtb bank account to his Access bank account.

“A transfer of N110,000.75kobo was debited from the deceased’s account on June 18, 2021.

“On June 19, 2021, a transfer of N20,000 each was made nine times through the USSD code,” Bamidele maintained.

The witness also informed the court that the investigators also wrote to Guaranty Trust Bank to get Ataga’s statement of account.

He said that after they got the statement they discovered that on June 13, 2021, the sums of N10,000 and N105,000 were transferred to Chidinma and the owner of the Short Service Apartment, Nkechi Mogbo.

He also said, “On that same, there was a N13,000 purchase transaction at Ango Villa, N14,200, transaction for purchase at Dwine Bar global, and on the same June 13, there was a transfer of N20,399.

“On June 14, 2021, there was a N21,000 transfer from Ataga’s account to Chidinma’s account and another transfer of N15,000 paid to Chidinma, there was a N5000 transaction that was made on June 14 and paid to Adiba Online choppy,” he said.

But when the prosecution sought to tender the extra-judicial statements of the defendants, Chidinma’s counsel Onwuka Egwu, objected to the admissibility of the document.

Egwu submitted that his client did not make the statements voluntarily and that they were obtained by oppression, inducement, intimidation and under duress.

He, therefore, urged the court to test the veracity of the voluntariness of the statements.

Lawyers to the second and third defendants, Babatunde Busari and Miss M. A. Abia-Bassey did not object to the admissibility of the statements.

The prosecutor prayed the court conduct a trial-within-trial to resolve the issue.

Based on the development, Justice Adesanya adjourned the case to November 8, for her to conduct the trial-within-trial.

[Leadership.ng]

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