The third prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Chidinma Ojukwu, the alleged murder suspect of Super TV chief executive officer, Usifo Ataga yesterday claimed that he bought the deceased Laptop from the first defendant for the sum of N495,000.
The witness, Ifeoluwa Oluwo, who described himself as businessman that deals in the sales of phones, laptops and accessories at Computer Village in Lagos, testified that he bought the laptop on June 18, 2021, two days after the body of Autauga was found at the short service apartment in Lekki.
He told Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square (TBS) that it was some five days after the transaction that he discovered that the defendant was paraded by the police on social media for murder.
The 22-year-old 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos was docked before the court alongside Adedapo Quadri on a eight-counts bordering on the offences of murder, forgery and stealing.
The state also arraigned Chidinma’s sister, Egbuchu Chioma from whom the late Ataga’s iPhone 7, was said to have been recovered on one count. They all pleaded not guilty to the charge.
Oluwo, who was led in evidence in chief by the Lagos State prosecuting counsel, Yusuf Sule, told the court that he has been in the business for five years and that they sell brand new phones and fairly used phones.
The witness who identified the first defendant (Chidinma) in the dock, stated that she was a customer, who had on April 30, 2021, purchased a phone and also sold her laptop to his office on June 18, 2021.
He testified that, “on June 18, 2021, she (Chidinma) sold a MacBook Pro Laptop, which was sold for N495,000, after negotiations and market value evaluation.
“To make a sale, you have to submit some documents like your government Identification card, i.e. Driver’s Licence, International Passport, Voter’s Card and NIN.
“You also have to fill a form which includes email, phone number, house address, full name, it will also contain the full value of the item, for that day, the name of the item and the serial number of the item, this is what we use to contact the customer if there are issues,” he said.
Oluwo told Justice Adesanya that as at the time the first defendant walked into his office, he was not around but that he was called in later for the final inspection of the Laptop.
He said that he inspected the Laptop physically, but that he was unable to access the content initially until the defendant unlocked it.
He said, “I asked her (first defendant) to unlock the Laptop and she did, so I conducted my internal observation which included speed performance, the circle count of the battery and general functionality.
“After that, I proceeded to ask questions, do you have a receipt for this Laptop, she stated that it was a gift from her boyfriend and that she has two Laptops and needed to sell one to pay some bills.
“I conducted a check on Apple website for the market evaluation, I confirmed the value of the Laptop, from Apple website, found that market valuation was $1000 to $1,200, the exchange rate of the Dollar at that time was N400 to N450.
“She wanted to sell for N600,000, we were able to negotiate for N495,000, I initiated the payment from my United Bank For Africa (UBA) account to her Sterling Bank account”, he maintained.
Oluwo also informed the court that when he asked the defendant for the receipt of the Laptop, she said that she was not able to provide the receipt because the Laptop was a gift from her boyfriend.
He stated, “After the sale of the Laptop, we saw her face on social media, regarding a murder case, the name mentioned was that of the customer we had business with earlier, so I ensured that all her documents were kept handy.
“A few days later, the Police from State Criminal Investigation Department SCID Panti, invited my manager, Olutayo Abayomi to the station, I was later told of the invitation, so I proceeded to the station to find out the reason.
“When I got to the police station, I discovered that it was in connection with the Laptop we bought from Chidinma on June 18, 2021, we both made a statement detailing how we came about the Laptop and how we made the purchase.
“We gave the police the documents of the former owner, which included a copy of her voters’ card, a copy of our form and all receipts which already had her information, regarding the Laptop,” the witness said.
When asked by the prosecution if he can detect that a product is a stolen item, he said no, “there is no way we can detect that a phone or Laptop is a stolen one.”
During cross-examination, the first defendant’s counsel, Onwuka Egwu, asked if the witness was shown any documents like receipts or proof of ownership to show that the Laptop did not belong to the first defendant, at Panti, he said no.
Justice Adesanya adjourned the case to November 29, for the continuation of the trial.