A businessman Ifeoluwa Oluwo on Thursday told a Lagos State High Court that Chidinma Ojukwu, prime suspect in the murder of Super TV boss Usifo Ataga, sold the deceased’s Apple MacBook Laptop to him for N495,000.
He told Justice Yetunde Adesanya that he paid her the sum on June 18, 2021, after negotiations.
Ataga was found dead in a Lekki, Lagos short-let apartment two days earlier on June 16, 2021.
Oluwo, a phone, laptop and computer dealer, testified that soon after he bought the laptop, that he saw her Ojukwu’s face on social media being linked to a murder case.
He then recalled that her name was similar to that of the customer he did business with, so he ensured that all the transaction documents were kept handy.
Oluwo stated this in the ongoing trial of Ojukwua a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos and two others over Ataga’s murder.
Ojukwu, the first defendant, is standing trial alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and one Adedapo Quadri.
Miss Ojukwu had on June 13, 2021, requested for the short service apartment where Ataga was subsequently found dead.
She left the apartment on June 15, before Ataga’s corpse was discovered the next day.
Oluwo, who said he had been been carrying on his business at Computer Village, Ikeja, testified as the third prosecution witness (PW3).
Led in evidence by Lagos State prosecution counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule, the witness identified Ojukwu as the customer that purchased a phone from his office on April 30, 2021. She returned on June 18, 2021 to sell the laptop
He told the court that he buys and sells both brand new and fairly used phones.
Oluwo said, “On June 18, 2021, she Miss Ojikwu sold a MacBook Pro Laptop for N495,000, after negotiations and market value comparison.
“In order to make a sale you have to submit some documents and fill a form; your government Identification card, i.e. driver’s license, international passport, voter’s card, NIN.
“You also have to fill a form which will contain your 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 do to contact customers if there is any issue.”
The witness further told the court that he was not around when the first defendant walked in to his office, he was called in later for the final inspection of the laptop.
He said he inspected the laptop physically, but was unable to access it initially.
“I asked her (first defendant) to unlock the laptop and she did. 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?’ I asked.
“She stated that it was a gift from her boyfriend, and that she had two laptops and needed to sell one to pay for some bills.
“I conducted a check on Apple website for my market evaluation, I confirmed the value of the laptop from the Apple website. I found my mark and market valuation, that it was between $1000 and $1,200. The exchange rate of dollars as of that time was N400 to N450.
“She wanted to sell it for N600,000, but we were able to negotiate for N495,000, which I initiated from my UBA account to her Sterling Bank account”, Oluwo said.
When asked whether the first defendant produced the receipt of the laptop, the witness said Ojukwu was unable to, as she insisted that it was a gift from her boyfriend.
The witness testified that after the sale of the laptop, “We saw her face on social media, regarding a murder case connected to her. The name was very familiar to 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. A call was made to me by someone else in the office, that he had been invited to the police station. So, I proceeded to the station to find out why.
“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 voter’s car, a copy of our form, all receipts which already had her information, regarding the laptop,” the witness said.
Asked if he could detect that a product was a stolen item, he replied no.
“There is no way we can detect that a phone or laptop is a stolen one,” Oluwo said.
During cross-examination by the first defendant’s counsel, Mr Onwuka Egwu, the witness was asked if he was shown any documents, receipts or proof of ownership to show that the laptop was not owned by the first defendant at Panti.
“No”, Oluwo replied.
Justice Adesanya adjourned till November 29, for continuation of trial.
The three defendants were arraigned on October, 12 on a nine-count charge preferred against them by Lagos State Government.
The first and second defendants 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 alleged murder took place at No. 19, Adewale Oshin Street, Lekki Phase 1, Lagos.
Chidinma and Quadri were also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.
The two defendants are facing an eight-count charge of conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements and stealing.
The first defendant’s sister Chioma Egbuchu is facing a charge of stealing an iPhone 7, belonging to the late Ataga.
They pleaded not guilty.