A Lagos High Court sitting in the Tafawa Balewa Square area of Lagos Island has heard how Chidinma Ojukwu, the key suspect in the murder of Ataga Usifo, late Super TV CEO, transferred about N5m from his account hours after his death.
The details came to light during the testimony of the ninth prosecution witness DSP Olusegun Bamidele.
At the proceedings today, the Deputy Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, told the court that the matter was for continuation of trial.
Bamidele was then led into the witness box to continue from where he stopped at the last sitting.
Oluwafemi asked for exhibit P11, which is the Access Bank Statement of Ataga and asked the witness to tell the court why he had the bank statements of the deceased.
The witness said that during the course of investigation and in a bid to know what could have motivated the first defendant to kill the deceased, the police wrote Access Bank asking for the bank statements of the deceased and a copy was given to them.
He said that a close look at the bank statements combined with information obtained from the phones of the deceased showed that Chidinma had been in control of the accounts since Ataga’s death.
The body of the late Usifo Ataga was discovered on June 16, hours after he was believed to have been murdered.
Th witness testified that on June 15, Chidinma used Ataga’s phone to transfer N5m from his account to another bank.
“On June 16, 2021 four transactions of N20,000 each was made from the deceased’s account and on June 17, another withdrawal of N20,000 each was made five times and the remarks was transfer between customers.
” On the same June 16, N50,000 was transferred to Nkechi Mogbo, N11,200 was transferred to Caprical Capital and another N93,000 was transferred from Ataga’s Gtb bank to his Access bank account.
“A transfer of N110,000 was debited from the deceased’s account on June 18, 2021.
“On June 19, 2021, a transfer of N20,000each was made four times and another transfer of N20,000each was made five times and it was through the USSD code,” Bamidele said.
The witness also explained to the court how the police wrote Gtb Bank to get Ataga’s statement of account.
He said 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 June 13, for the payment of the short service let to Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the apartment.
“On that same June 13, there was a N13,000 purchase transaction at Angle Villa, 14,200, 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 N5000 transaction that was made on June 14 and paid to Adiba Online choppy,” he said.
When the prosecution sought to admit the written statements of the defendants, Chidinma’s counsel Onwuka Egwu, objected to the admissibility of the document.
He said that she didn’t make the statements voluntarily as the police had obtained them by oppression, inducement, intimidation and under duress. He urged the court to test the voluntariness of the statements.
The second and third defendant’s counsel, Babatunde Busari and Miss M. A. Abia-Bassey did not object.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya has however adjourned the case to November 8, for a trial within trial to determine the voluntariness of the defendant’s statement.
Chidinma Ojukwu is standing trial before Justice Yetunde Adesanya for the alleged murder of Usifo Ataga.
Chidinma was arraigned on Oct. 12, 2021 alongside two others Adedapo Quadri and Chioma Egbuchu (her sister) on a nine-count charge preferred against them by the Lagos State Government.
Ojukwu and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements and stealing.
The third defendant, Egbuchu, is facing the ninth count of receiving a stolen iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.
Ojukwu and Quadri were alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife on the neck and chest.
The Security guard of the short let service apartment where Ataga was murdered had during his evidence before the court on November, 16, 2021, said that Chidinma left the apartment on Tuesday, night which was June 15,2021 and never came back.
He had also told the court that it was on Wednesday, June 16, 2021, that the dead body of Ataga was discovered.