Nkechi Mogbo, the owner of the short service apartment used by the murdered Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Michael Ataga, has denied meeting the deceased and defendant, Chidinma Ojukwu, before the incident.
Chidinma, a 300-level Mass Communication student of the University of Lagos, was accused of killing Ataga.
The 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.
At the resumed hearing on Monday, the first prosecution witness, Mogbo, was cross-examined by the first defendant’s counsel, Onwuka Egbu.
When asked by Egbu if she provided safety measures for her guests, as well as closed-circuit-television cameras, Mogbo said, “We have 24/7 security at the gate that monitors people’s movement. At the time of the incident, the installer had not completed the installation of the closed-circuit cameras.”
When the defence counsel asked how often did the firm take stock of things and the purpose of the knife in the apartment, which was allegedly used to stab Ataga, Mogbo replied, “After every guest, we go over every item or equipment. The multipurpose knife is a kitchen utensil.”
The defence attorney then suggested that the knife in the apartment was for a predestined purpose and asked for the names of the guests in the apartment from June 11 to 17, 2021.
When the DPP objected, the defence stated that the witness was under compulsion to identify the guests because the matter had become a felony issue.
The judge then allowed the question.
Mogbo said, “The identities of the guests with their photo identification were handed over to the police. There was a Mr Babatunde, and one Omolara, aswell as Jewel (Chidinma) and her friend. Babatunde left the facility on the 17th of June, while the female, Omolara, left a month after the incident.”
She added that she did not know the nationality of Chidinma because the name and number were foreign.
“During the WhatsApp conversation, she confirmed she would be having a friend over. Payment could be made by anybody. However, Jewel sent me the proof of payment less than a minute from our conclusion so there was nothing to arouse any suspicion as to foul play.”
Egbu then told the witness, “I put it to you that the reason you did not raise an eyebrow as to the payment was because you already knew the deceased.”
But Mogbo replied, “That is false. I had no knowledge of who the initiator of the funds was, I had never met him. If I did, I would have called the person to give me more clarification as to the lady in question.
Egbu then tendered as evidence the handwritten statement which Mogbo made to the police.
According to Mogbo, she was able to identify the defendant through a picture on her phone.
After the cross-examination, the prosecution counsel, Mrs Adeyinka Adeyemi, who is also the Lagos State Director of Public Prosecutions, told the court that she had no re-examination.
Justice Yetunde Adesanya then adjourned the case till November 16, 2021, for the continuation of trial.
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