Court orders kidnap kingpin Evans to refund €233,000 ransom
The Lagos High Court, on Wednesday, ordered convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (a.k.a Evans), to refund €233,000 he collected as ransom from his victim, Donatus Dunu.
The presiding judge, Olukayode Ogunjobi, also ordered the convict to pay N50 million to Mr Dunu as general damages.
Mr Onwuamadike and his gang kidnapped Mr Dunu, a pharmacist, on February 14, 2017, and held him hostage before he managed to escape.
After his escape, Mr Dunu, the chief executive officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Company, filed Suit No: LD/5243GCM/2018, demanding the refund of the €223,000 he paid as ransom while in the custody of the kidnap kingpin.
He also demanded N50 million as damages.
In his testimony before the court, the claimant added that the defendant asked him to instruct his brothers, Anslem Dunu and Innocent Dunu, to pay the ransom.
The pharmacist stated that he paid €233,000, but Mr Onwuamadike refused to release him, but he eventually escaped from captivity.
Mr Dunu’s brother, Anslem, also gave evidence and said that on February 14, 2017, another brother of his, Innocent Dunu, informed him that the claimant had been abducted.
In his defence, Mr Onwuamadike contended that the strength of the claimant’s case was predicated majorly upon the criminal trial against him and others in Suit No. 1D/5970C/2017.
The defendant also submitted that the only evidence before the court as to the payment of the €233,000 was the evidence of Mr Okagwu, who allegedly delivered the money to the abductors.
He added that in the criminal trial in Suit No. 1D/5970C/2017, Mr Okagwu testified that he dropped the said sum on the ground and fled and that he did not see anybody or deliver the money to anyone.
He argued that the evidence of Mr Okagwu, who delivered the said ransom to the abductors, was the only direct evidence and must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt.
In his judgement on Wednesday, Justice Ogunjobi held that the defendant gave inconsistent evidence and could not be recognised as a witness of truth.
“It is settled law that no witness who gives materially inconsistent evidence on oath is entitled to the honour of being accorded with any credibility and such does not deserve to be treated as a truthful witness.
“Aside from adducing conflicting pieces of evidence on oath, I have watched the demeanour of the defendant in the witness box when giving evidence and came to the conclusion that the defendant is not a witness of truth.
“I accept the unchallenged and uncontroverted evidence of the claimant and his witnesses. Their evidence is consistent with the relief sought.
“Consequently, the claimant is entitled to be repaid and or recover from the defendant €233,000 ransom coercively paid by the claimant to the defendant when the defendant kidnapped him in 2017 and held him hostage for months.
“The sum of N50 million is awarded as general damages in favour of the claimant.
“Post-judgement interest is also awarded on the said sum of €233,000 at the rate of 10 per cent per annum from judgment day until final liquidation,’’ Justice Ogunjobi declared.
The judge ruled that the sum is to be paid or recovered from the defendant’s assets.
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