A prosecution witness yesterday informed an Ikeja High Court how suspected kidnap Kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, alias Evans, was paid 223,000 Euros to secure the release of his victim, Donatus Duru.
In his evidence, the witness, Anselem Dunu, the elder brother of Donatus Duru, who was kidnapped on February 14, 2017, said his brother spent four months in custody of his kidnappers. He told Justice Hakeem Oshodi that Evans did not release his brother even after collecting the ransom.
Duru added that during this period, the kidnappers through phone calls threatened him and demanded 100 million Euros. According to him, “On the 14th of February I received a phone call from my younger brother Innocent Duru informing me about my brother’s kidnap.
We rushed to the Ilupeju Police Station where we reported the case. We were referred to SCID Panti where the CSP in charge told me that the pattern of kidnapping was similar to that of the notorious kidnapper, Evans.
“The CSP further told me to be strong adding that Evans would contact me in two weeks as it was his pattern, and that I should be strong because the kind of money Evans would ask us to bring can make me faint.
“After two weeks a private number called me and I heard my brother’s voice at the other end begging me to close all his bank accounts and give the kidnappers all the money. My brother’s voice was anxious and filled with pain. I told him that there was no way I could access his accounts since I was not a signatory.
The call ended abruptly. I was contacted again after four days and my brother sounded more desperate, begging me not to allow him die in captivity. “The kidnapper grabbed the phone from my brother and demanded 1 million Euros, to which I replied that we were only able to raise N20m. The voice on the other end started saying, ‘thunder fire you. Go and get us our money,’ and the call ended.
“I rallied round and managed to raise N60m which I informed the kidnappers when they called after three days but the kidnapper demanded 1m Euros if I wanted to see my brother alive. “The kidnapper threatened to kill me whenever I brought the money. He also insisted that I must be the one to bring the money.
I could hear my brother’s voice in the background pleading for mercy and shouting, ‘please stop beating me.’ “We were finally able to raise N100m which we changed into 223,000 Euros. They contacted me and I told them what we were able to raise. They thereafter told me they would contact me. “They contacted me and I arranged with my Cousin, Uche Okeagbu to take the money to them.
They demanded I should give my phone to Uche, and instructed him to bring the money to Oshodi. “We packaged the money in cellophane bags and Uche took it to them in Oshodi. After they collected the 223,000 Euros, they stopped calling. Sometimes in May, I got a call from my younger brother who told me that my brother Donatus had escaped from the kidnappers den. “When we were finally reunited with him, he was in a very critical condition. He was emaciated, his beard was so bushy and white. In short, he looked like an elderly man.
“At the Bourdillon Police Headquaters the 4th defendant, Okuchukwu Nwachukwu was paraded as the one that informed Evans about my brother. I know Nwachukwu very well. He was my very good friend and I fondly called him Congo.
He apologized profusely when he saw me and told me that it was the devil and greed that pushed him into kidnapping. “Evans was also paraded as the mastermind behind the kidnap. When Evans was asked why he chose my brother he said it was a random act, adding that one of his boys was not feeling fine and had bought a drug manufactured by Maydon Pharmaceutical Limited.
He also said when he checked the manufacturer’s address, he contacted Nwachukwu who gave him details of my brother’s movements,” Anselem Duru told the court.
Justice Oshodi thereafter adjourned the matter till November 17 for continuation of trial. Earlier during the proceedings, Justice Oshodi dismissed an application filed by Evans to quash the kidnapping and conspiracy charges against him. Justice Oshodi in his ruling said the court found no merit in the application.
Evan’s Counsel, Olukoya Ogungbeje, informed the court that he had two applications pending before the court. He said one of the applications was seeking to entirely quash the two counts charge against his client while the other application was asking the court to grant his client bail.
Ogungbeje further argued that filing two separate suits against his client in two different courts was a gross abuse of court processes. He further argued that there was no prima facie case against his client, adding that his client’s name was not mentioned by any of his alleged ‘victims.’
He submitted that “there is no ground for Prosecution. The same witnesses the prosecution listed in the suit filed before the Igbosere High Court are the same ones listed in the suit before the Ikeja High Court. “The new amended charge has no proof of evidence.
The proof of evidence presently before this court is the one attached to the former charge, therefore there is no ground for the proceedings. “The law is against filing multiplicity of suits against the same person. The supreme Court also affirmed that instituting different charges before the same party simultaneously is an abuse of court process,”Ogungbeje argued.
In her response, the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecution, Ms. T.K Shitta Bey, told the court that the matter was adjourned for prosecution to open trial. “On behalf of the 1st defendant we were served with application asking the court to quash information before the court. We have responded by filing a counter affidavit.
In another application, they are asking the 1st and 2nd defendants to be admitted on bail and acceleration of the trial “It is in my humble observation the applications are conflicting.
One is asking to quash the charges, the other is asking for accelerated hearing. The application is frivolous and an abuse of court and an attempt to delay the trial”, Shitta Bey said.