A Lagos high court sitting at the Tarawa Balewa Square (TBS) has dismissed the objection raised by the counsel to Chidinma Ojukwu to question a bank employee over Usifo Ataga’s account.
According to NAN, Yetunde Adesanya, the judge, admitted Ataga’s Access Bank account statements as exhibits.
Chidinma is standing trial for the alleged murder of Ataga, the CEO of Super TV.
She is charged with murder, stealing, and forgery alongside Chioma Egbuchu, her sister, and one Adedapo Quadri.
On Tuesday, A. O. Oluwafemi, the prosecution counsel, told the court that the prosecution had a representative from Access Bank who was in court on the basis of the subpoena to tender the account document of the deceased.
She then called Toafeek Lawal, the representative of the bank, to the witness box to tender the statement and the certificate of identification.
After tendering the statement, Onwuka Egwu, the counsel to the first defendant, raised an objection to cross-examine the bank officer over the document he tendered.
According to him, Lawal is the account officer of the deceased as can be seen from the subpoena and certification attached to the account.
He, therefore, said that the officer from the bank was in a position to give evidence in respect of the account.
But Babatunde Busari, the counsel to the second defendant, and A. O. Ogunsanya, the one to the third defendant, did not raise any objection to the tendering of the account statements.
Adesanya, in a short ruling, said Section 218 of the Evidence Act (EA) 2011 provides that a person whether a party or not in a case, can be summoned to produce a document without being summoned to give evidence.
She also said Section 219 of the EA provides that a person summoned to produce a document does not become a witness by the mere fact that he produced it and cannot be cross-examined unless and until called as a witness.
“This officer from Access Bank has not been sworn on oath, therefore, cannot be cross-examined,” the judge said.
The judge, however, dismissed the first defendant’s application.
Similarly, Ademola Ayodeji, an officer from Guaranty Trust Bank, also tendered the bank statements of the late Ataga before the court.
Consequently, Adesanya admitted all the documents in court as exhibits.
On April 25, the prosecution had asked the court for a short adjournment to enable the prosecution put its house in order concerning the bank statements of the deceased.
The three defendants were arraigned on October 12, 2021, on a nine-count charge preferred against them by the Lagos government.
Chidinma and Quadri are facing the first to eight counts bordering on conspiracy, murder, stabbing, forgery, making of bank statements, and stealing.
Egbuchu, the third defendant, is facing the ninth count of stealing an iPhone 7 belonging to the late Ataga.
Chidinma and Quadri are alleged to have conspired and murdered Ataga on June 15, 2021, by stabbing him several times with a knife in the neck and chest.
The alleged murder took place at No.19, Adewale Oshin St., Lekki Phase 1, Lagos state.
The duo was also accused of committing forgery by procuring and making bank account statements purported to have been made by the deceased.
The case was adjourned until April 28 for the continuation of trial.
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