Mr Ifeoluwa Oluwo, a prosecution witness gave a vivid account of how the laptop of the murdered Super TV Chief Executive Officer, Michael Ataga, was traded by the principal suspect, Chidinma Ojukwu, for N495,000.
Recall that Chidinma, a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos has been indicted as the principal suspect in the murder of Ataga in Lekki.
The UNILAG undergraduate and two others, Adedapo Quadri and Chioma Egbuchu, are undergoing trial before Justice Yetunde Adesanya of the Lagos State High Court sitting at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos State.
Oluwo, who was led in evidence by the Lagos State prosecuting counsel, Mr Yusuf Sule, claimed that he deals in phones, laptops, and accessories at Computer Village in Ikeja and has been in the business for five years.
He said he sensed trouble coming the first day he read about Chidinma’s travail on social media after the sale of the laptop.
Not wanting to be caught unaware, he immediately arranged for all the relevant documents she brought and kept them handy.
The witness identified Chidinma as a customer who had purchased a phone on April 30 and also sold a laptop on June 18, at the same office.
Oluwo said, “On June 18, Chidinma sold me 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 with your government identification card, driving license, international passport, voters’ card, and National Identification Number.
“You also have to fill a form which includes email, phone number, house address, and 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 a customer if there are any issues.
“I asked Chidinma 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 had two laptops and needed to sell one to pay some bills.
“I conducted a check on a website for my market evaluation. I confirmed the value of the laptop. It was $1,000 to $1,200. The exchange rate of dollars at that time was N400 to N450 and she wanted to sell for N600,000. We were able to negotiate for N495,000, which I initiated from my UBA bank account to her Sterling bank account.”
When asked if Chidinma had produced the receipt of the laptop, Oluwo stated that she was not able to provide the receipt as she had insisted that it was a gift from her boyfriend.
“After the sale of the laptop, we saw her face on social media regarding a murder case. A few days later, the police from the State Criminal Investigation Department, Panti, invited my manager, Olutayo Abayomi.
“When I got to the police station, I discovered that it was in connection to the laptop we bought from Chidinma on June 18.
“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 have her information regarding the laptop.
“There is no way we can detect that a phone or laptop was a stolen one,” Oluwo said.
During cross-examination, Chidinma’s counsel, Onwuka Egbu, asked if he was shown any documents, receipts, or proof of ownership to show that the laptop was not for the first defendant at Panti but the witness said he was not shown any.
Justice Adesanya adjourned the case till November 29, for the continuation of trial.