Evans Trial: Witness Narrates How He Paid £223,000 As Ransom
The trial of suspected kidnapper, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike popularly known as Evans continued today at the Lagos High Court Sitting in Ikeja with the testimony of the third prosecution witness, Uchenna Okeagwu.
Okeagwu explained to the court on Friday that he paid Evans the sum of £223,000 for the ransom of his boss, Donatus Duru.
While being led in evidence by the Director of Public Prosecution, Titilayo Shitta-Bey, Okeagwu said he was instructed by the kidnappers to drop the money inside a vehicle parked inside a compound somewhere around Mile 2.
“I am a manager at Maydon pharmaceutical company and have been working with them for over seven years. After we heard of the kidnap of Duru, we waited to hear from the kidnappers so we will know what to do to rescue him.
“As the manager of the Idumota branch, we worked towards raising money for the kidnappers when they asked for ransom. After about two months, I was called by Anselm Duru, Donatus’ brother to come and deliver the money to the kidnappers that they have raised £223,000.
“After counting the money, we put it in a polythene bag and wrapped it very well with sellotape and I went with the money. Anselm gave me his telephone that they would use it to direct me to where I would take the ransom to.
“I started receiving calls with the phone from the kidnappers saying I should make no mistakes that if I do, I would be shot. I was asked if I know the way towards Mile 2 and I said yes, I went with the money inside the vehicle, putting the money under the passengers’ seat in the front and I moved out of the compound towards Mile 2,” he explained.
During cross-examination, defence counsel for the first, second, third and fourth defendants, Olukoya Ogungbeje, asked if he saw anybody when he dropped the ransom or gave it to anybody directly, the witness said no.
Evans, Uche Amadi, Ogechi Uchechukwu, Okwuchukwu Nwachukwu, Chilaka Ifeanyi, and Victor Aduba are facing a two-count charge of conspiracy and kidnapping before Hakeem Oshodi, a judge of the Ikeja Division of the Lagos State High Court.
Duru was the last victim allegedly kidnapped by the group before their arrest in June last year.
Evans had initially pleaded guilty to the charge of kidnapping but later reversed his plea.
Earlier, Mr Ogungbeje had told the court that he would refrain from further cross-examining the 2nd witness, Donatus Duru, who was the victim of the kidnap.
He told the court that the witness was refusing to answer his questions but preferred instead to give answers to questions he had formulated in his mind.
In response to his statement, the judge said, “It is quite unfortunate that the legal counsel can make such statement that the witness is not answering his questions, but it is his prerogative to conduct defence as he deems fit.
Further proceedings in the matter has been adjourned till June 22.