A Lagos High Court presided over by Justice Olukayode Ogunjobi on Wednesday ordered convicted kidnap kingpin, Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike (a.k.a Evans), to refund 233,000 Euros he collected as ransom from his victim, Donatus Dunu.
The judge also ordered the convict to pay N50 million to Dunu as general damages.
Onwuamadike and his gang kidnapped Dunu, a pharmacist on Feb. 14, 2017 and held him hostage before he managed to escape.
After his escape, Dunu, Chief Executive Officer of Maydon Pharmaceutical Company filed Suit No: LD/5243GCM/2018 demanding the refund of the 223,000 Euros 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 the 233,000 Euros was paid but Onwuamadike refused to release him but he eventually escaped from captivity.
Dunu’s brother, Anslem, also gave evidence and said that on Feb. 14, 2017, another brother of his, Innocent Dunu informed him that the claimant had been abducted.
Anslem told the court that on Feb. 15, 2017, a day after Dunu’s abduction, he spoke with the claimant on phone and he instructed him to pay his abductors N100 million as ransom for his release.
He stated that the abductors later demanded for one million Euros.
Anslem added that it was one of his relatives, one Uchenna Okagwu that delivered the sum of 233,000 Euros to the abductors.
The witness was not cross examined.
In his defence, 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 Euros was the evidence of Okagwu, who allegedly delivered the money to the abductors.
He added that in the criminal trial in Suit No. 1D/5970C/2017, 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 Okagwu who delivered the said ransom to the abductors was the only direct evidence and must be proved beyond reasonable doubt.
According to the defendant, the judgment delivered by Justice O.H. Oshodi on Feb. 25, 2022 is now subject of an appeal at the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division.
In his judgment 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 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 reliefs sought.
“Consequently, the claimant is entitled to be repaid and or recover from the defendant, 233,000 Euros ransom coercively paid by the claimant to 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-judgment interest is also awarded on the said sum of 233,000 Euros at the rate of 10 per cent per annum from judgment day until final liquidation,’’ Justice Ogunjobi declared.
The adjudged ruled that the sum is to be paid or recovered from the assets of the defendant.