A Lagos High Court sitting on Tuesday listened to the audio recording of an alleged phone conversation between Chidinma Ojukwu and a security guard, Abubakar Mohammed, at the rented short-let service apartment where Super TV boss, Michael Usifo Ataga, was allegedly murdered.
Chidinma Ojukwu is standing trial for alleged murder, stealing, and forgery alongside her sister, Chioma Egbuchu, and Adedapo Quadri.
In the audio recording that was heard by the court on Tuesday, Ojukwu was heard saying “hello” while the security guard, Mohammed, also responded by saying “Hello, who is this?”
Chidinma then replied, “It’s me,” and then she asked the security guard about Ataga’s car. She said, “Is the car around?” “Which car?” Mohammed responded. Chidinma then said, “That my oga car, the black Range Rover.”
The court also heard Mohammed tell the first defendant that, as she was not around, he could not go and knock on the man’s door. He then asked her if the man was alive, and she replied that Ataga was alive.
He further asked her what time she was coming back; she said, “I am coming.” Mohammed then asked her to use her phone number to call him so that he can have it, to which she replied, “ok”.
Before listening to this recording, the Lagos State Deputy Director for Public Prosecutions, Mrs Adenike Oluwafemi, asked the ninth prosecution witness, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Olusegun Bamidele, to confirm his testimony of May 9, where he told the court about the security guard’s interaction and conversation with the first defendant.
Bamidele confirmed the evidence he gave before the court and how he had testified that the security guard transferred the audio conversation to his Infinix Hot 4 smartphone.
The witness was asked if he would be able to identify the Compact Disc and he answered in the affirmative. When it was shown to him, he identified it and also told the court that he had attached a certificate of compliance to the CD.
He said, “The alleged maker of the CD, is Mohammed (PW2) and the prosecution had not made the required document of why this court will make do with a hearsay document when the author had already given evidence as PW2”.
Egwu cited Section 83 1 (a) (ii), 2011 of the Evidence Act and said “The prosecution has not laid any of this foundation of the tendering of the document through Segun Bamidele.
“If the prosecution desires and wants to rely on this document, PW2 ought to have been called,” he said.
In her reply, Oluwafemi said, “It is trite law that whatever the investigation Police Officer gathered as evidence is direct evidence and not hearsay. Finally, admissibility is based on relevance”.
In a short ruling on the arguments of the prosecution and defence counsel, Justice Yetunde Adesanya dismissed the objection of the defence counsel.
Justice Adesanya adjourned the case to October 6, 2022, for the continuation of the trial.