Judiciary News

Ataga: How Chidinma Was Arrested Through Her Mobile Phone – Witness

A prosecution witness, DSP Olusegun Bamidele, on Monday told a Lagos High Court at Tafawa Balewa Square, that Chidinma Ojukwu, charged with the murder of Usifo Ataga, was tracked  through her phone.

Bamidele said that the intelligent and tactical unit of the State Criminal Investigating Department (SCID) Yaba police station, tracked Ojukwu down at No. 57, Akinwunmi St., Alagomeji, Yaba.

Bamidele, a police officer, serving at the homicide department section of SCID, Yaba, said this, while giving evidence at the ongoing trial of Ojukwu charged with the murder of Ataga, Chief Executive Officer of Super TV.

He gave evidence as the ninth prosecution witness (PW9) and was led in evidence by the Lagos State Director for Public Prosecutions, Mrs A. O. Oluwafemi.

The defendant, Ojukwu, is charged with murder, stealing and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.

At the resumed trial on Monday, the police officer narrated how the case was transferred from Maroko police station to his own department at SCID Yaba.

He said the case was transferred and assigned to his team on June 17, 2021, with a a suspect, one Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the apartment where the incident occurred.

The witness said that the investigating police officer (IPO) from Maroko police station explained to him, how a complaint about a body with a mark of violence was brought to their station.

Bamidele said that the IPO from Maroko also informed him that he took pictures and made video recordings which was transferred into his Infinix Hot 4, smart phone.

The witness narrated that after receiving the complaint from the Maroko IPO, he visited the scene of crime alongside the IOP and Mogbo, the owner of the place.

“We met the security guard who took us into the apartment and I observed that there were blood stains on the floor, the bed was ruffled with blood stains on the pillow and the Duvet.

“The IPO also took me to Yaba general hospital mortuary, to see the body and I observed that there were stab wounds on the deceased body, including injury on his head and knees.

“I also saw that the two wrists had marks indicating that they were tied,” Bamidele said.

The witness said that he interacted with Mogbo, she informed him that on June 13, a phone call came from one Jewel, who requested for a room at her short service apartment.

He also said that the security guard at the apartment also told him how the body of the deceased was discovered at the apartment where the said Jewel lodged with the deceased.

Bamidele also said that the security guard at the apartment gave him a phone number which the said Jewel had used in calling him while at the apartment.

“After getting the information from the security guard, we engaged a tracking team.

“The trackers with the intelligent and tactical unit, tracked one Chidinma Adaora Ojukwu, down, at No. 57, Akinwunmi St., Alagomeji Yaba,” he said.

The witness also told the court that the statements of the owner of the apartment and the security were all taken and he identified the statements which were already in court as exhibits.

He also said that the pictures and videos in his phone were downloaded into a disc by an information technology expert in his office.

However, the prosecution counsel at that point, prayed for an adjournment to enable the prosecution bring the video for viewing and to tender it as evidence.

Earlier, an Access Bank account officer to the deceased, Mr Toafeek Lawal, gave evidence as the eighth witness.

He gave evidence on the Naira account statements of the deceased starting from April 1, 2021 to August 31, 2021.

He said that there were, however, no transactions on the account from June 19 to August 31.

He said that immediately the bank learnt of the death of late Usifo Ataga, the bank placed a Post No Debit (POD) on the account to stop any debit from being effected on the account.

He said that there monies that were transferred from the deceased account on June 16 and the transactions were done through USSD platform to the deceased other account.

Lawal, also said that on June 17, some monies were transferred to the deceased account but on June 18, some monies were transferred from the deceased account to a different account.

He said that the deceased operated two accounts with the bank which were a Naira account and a Domiciliary account.

The witness was cross examined by the first  defendant counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu.

Egwu asked the witness to confirm that in a USSD mode of transfer, “the password is exclusive to the owner of the account”

The witness answered that the password was meant to be exclusive unless the owner decided otherwise.

Egwu also asked the witness to confirm how many payments were made to the first defendant during the period the statement covered.

The witness answered that it was only once.

However, Justice Yetunde Adesanya, adjourned the case until May 10 for continuation of trial.

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