Mr Rotimi Albert, a close friend of the murdered Chief Executive Officer of Super TV, Michael Ataga, has told the court that he found stab wounds on the deceased’s body when he was asked to identify him in the mortuary.
Chidinma Ojukwu, 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.
Albert is the fourth prosecution witness.
At the resumed hearing on Tuesday, he recalled how a mutual friend informed him that Ataga was missing and the efforts they made to trace him, including tracking his telephone and bank transactions.
He said they were later told about Ataga’s death and that his corpse was in the mortuary.
He added, “We then got a call that Ataga was deceased and in the mortuary. We went to Panti but when we got there, we found out that the police had already gone to the scene of the crime, where his body was found. We then went there.
“As we got there, the police didn’t let us get into the compound; so, we stayed outside waiting to get more information. The policemen came out with their evidence bags, entered their vehicles, and left.
“We then went back to Panti and the police said we needed to go to the mortuary to identify the body. We went to the mortuary and we confirmed it was Ataga. We observed that he was attacked and stabbed brutally with multiple stab wounds on his neck, abdomen, sides and legs.
“We also saw that his wrists had deep indentations of rope marks like his wrists had been tied, and the body was bloody.
“We went back to the police station and confirmed that it was Ataga. That was how I got to know that my friend was dead.”
During cross-examination by Chidinma’s counsel, Onwuka Egbu, Albert stated that a mutual friend informed him about the tracking of the phone.
Egbu then asked the witness how he was able to monitor Ataga’s banking transactions, but the Director of Public Prosecutions, Mrs Olayinka Adeyemi, raised an objection, saying the witness never mentioned anything like that.
However, Egbu informed the court that the witness had made a statement to that effect to the police.
After tendering the statement as evidence, Egbu said Albert claimed that he became worried and started searching for Ataga, tracking his phone and his bank transactions.
“I wasn’t the one checking or tracking his phone and bank transactions. It was the same mutual friend, who was giving the coordinates of the phone. We started looking for him from June 16,” Albert stated.
The other defendants’ counsel had no questions for the witness and the prosecution did not conduct a re-examination.
“There are no more dates this year. The case is adjourned till February 14, 15, 17, 21, 24, and 25, and March 1, 2, 3, 2022,” the judge said.