*Photo: Prof Ndifon*
Lucy-Ogechi Chima, the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC)’s investigator, on Thursday, disagreed that Prof. Cyril Ndifon were in close relationship.
Chima, the 1st prosecution witness (PW1), stated this while being cross examined by the defence counsel, Joe Agi, SAN, before Justice James Omotosho of a Federal High Court, Abuja.
She admitted that though from the telephone chats in the commission’s documentary evidence, the interaction of the witness, identified by the court as TKJ, and Ndifon showed close relationship, she described it as “inappropriate relationship.”
The development occured when Agi asked Chima to read a section of the exhibit tendered by the ICPC in the open court.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Ndifon, the suspended Dean of Faculty of Law, University of Calabar (UNICAL), was, on Jan. 25, re-arraigned alongside Sunny Anyanwu on an amended four-count charge bordering on alleged sexual harassment and attempt to perverse the cause of justice.
Anyanwu, who is one of the lawyers in the defence, was joined in the amended charge filed on Jan. 22 by the ICPC on allegation that he called one of the prosecution witnesses on her mobile telephone during the pendency of the charge against Ndifon to threatened her.
When the PW1 was reading the duo’s interaction from the Exhibit H tendered, TKJ, in Whatsapp chats, was briefing the professor on how the sexual harassment probe set up by the UNICAL against him was ongoing.
“Can we say that your victim (TKJ) is briefing the 1st defendant (Ndifon) on the sexual harassment probe?” Agi asked
“As instructed my lord,” the witness responded.
Some other Whatsapp chats from Ndifon’s phone, read out in the open court by Chima, went thus:
“How did it go?” Ndifon asked.
“I didn’t hear anything on all harassment thing,” TKJ said.
“Omo, I don’t know why people will go extra mile to tarnish ones image,” TKJ said.
“I love you,” TKJ said.
When the lawyer asked why TKJ would have sent a message to Ndifon that she loved him, the investigator said: “She is doing that to gain admission (into the university).”
In another chat, Ndifon sent a message to TKJ saying, “I miss you.”
“I miss you too but you are giving me trouble,” TKJ responded.
Another chat reads:
“How now?” Ndifon said
“You know now,” TKJ responded.
“You want to dash me money, should I still send my account?” she asked.
The ICPC lawyer, Osuobeni Akponimisingha, then stood up and cut in.
“My lord, I want to know from the court whether this is a cross-examination or reading affair?”
But Justice Omotosho cautioned Akponimisingha against his use of words.
The judge, who gave the warning, threatened to make an order for Akponimisingha’s remand if he failed to comport himself during cross-examination.
“You better be careful, I will send you to jail if you continue in this act.
“If a party has tendered a bundle of documents of this nature, do you want the court to just write the judgment like that?
“The society should know what is in the documents. I will not just write a judgment.
“Everybody is entitled to know the facts in order to draw a conclusion.
“You said, ‘you want to know from the court?’ Let this be the last time you do this,” the judge warned.
In another exhibit tendered by the anti-corruption commission, TKJ did a WhatsApp video of herself in one of the interactions with Ndifon.
The chat goes thus:
“I didn’t know you were so beautiful,” Ndifon said.
“I was telling you to chill, my room mate was around,” TKJ replied.
But the investigator argued that TKJ did all these “under duress because of what she wants to get.”
Agi then asked if TKJ is a minor and the PW1 said she was 22 years at the time.
After the cross examination, Justice Omotosho discharged Chima from the witness box and adjourned the matter until Feb. 5 for continuation of trial.(NAN)