(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – A witness, Edwin Uduji, on Monday told an Igbosere High Court in Lagos how kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, popularly known as Evans, threatened to collect a fine of 10, 000 dollars for any fake 100 dollar bill in the ransom paid to him.
Uduji, an elder brother to abduction victim, Mr James Uduji, made the revelation while giving evidence at the trial of Evans, the Anambra-born high-profile kidnapper, known for kidnapping mainly billionaires.
Evans is currently facing two separate charges, bordering on conspiracy to kidnap, kidnapping and attempted murder, before Justice Adedayo Akintoye.
In the first charge, Evans is standing trial alongside one Joseph Emeka, Ugochukwu Nwachukwu and Victor Aduba.
In the second charge, the big time kidnapper is standing trial alongside Joseph Emeka, Linus Okpara and Victor Aduba.
At the resumed trial, Uduji narrated to the court how he paid one million dollar ransom to the kidnappers of his brother.
He said that he was contacted by phone by the kidnappers two days after his brother (James) was kidnapped, adding that he was made to speak with the kidnap victim.
“My brother told me that the kidnappers had agreed to collect one million dollars.
“My brother said I should do everything possible to gather the money to save his life because he sustained bullet wound from the kidnapper’s bullet,” Edwin said.
The victim’s brother said that the ransom was gathered from his brother’s business associates.
Edwin said he had to change all the money into dollars through bureau de change, adding that the ransom was paid in two installments of 200, 000 and 800, 000 dollars, respectively.
“The instruction from the voice that usually called me was that when I get the naira, I must change it into cripsy 100 dollar bills and if there is any fake 100 dollar, I will pay a fine of 10,000 dollars.
“My brother (the victim) also pleaded with me not to make arrangements with security agents so that the kidnappers will not kill him.
“On the day I dropped the first ransom of 200, 000 dollars, the kidnappers instructed me with phone where to drop the money. I was made to drive round Lagos before they finally instructed me to drop it along Cele expressway at about 2.20 a.m. on Sept. 16, 2015,” Edwin said.
He said the second ransom tranche of 800, 000 dollars, was paid by his relative, Mr Izuchukwu Ezeuko, adding that the 800, 000 dollars was paid in the eastern part of the country.
Edwin also told court that when the money was taking time to be gathered, the kidnappers asked that he be swapped with his brother (James) so that James could get home and source the money quickly.
During cross- examination, Counsel to Evans, Mr E. C. Obiagwu, tried discrediting the witness’s statement, adding that the phone conversation he allegedly had with the kidnappers were not mentioned in his statement at the police station.
Another witness, Donatus Nwoye, an assistant driver to the victim also narrated his side of the story to the court.
Nwoye said he sustained bullet wound at his left shoulder when the kidnappers were shooting sporadically.
“I was taken to the hospital by some okada men after the incident,” he said.
During cross-examination, Nwoye who had said he was unconscious when the bullet hit him, said his understanding of unconsciousness was “somebody who is not well”.
After listening to the argument, Akintoye adjourned the case until Oct. 4 for continuation of hearing. (NAN)