He Drove Off With Our Cash – Woman Tells Court
A cab driver, Olajide Stephen, has been brought before an Ikeja Magistrate’s Court sitting in Ogba by the police force in Lagos after a sum of $3,600 (about N1.2m) belonging to his passenger got missing.
Stephen was arraigned by the police on three counts to which he pleaded not guilty.
Naija News learnt that the passenger, Mrs. Olamide Musa had hired the 39-year-old driver to take her and her husband to the Murtala Muhammed International Airport, Ikeja, on June 18, 2017, where the husband would board a flight to the United Kingdom.
Further report has it that 20 minutes after the couple alighted from the cab near the departure hall Stephen took off, and that was when they realised the money was missing.
Musa claimed that he called Stephen on the telephone, asking him about the money, which the latter said he did not find. The woman reported the case to the police at the Airport Command and the driver was arrested.
He was consequently charged to court on three counts of stealing.
During the hearing of the case on Tuesday, the complainant and witness, who was led in evidence by the police prosecutor, Inspector N. Essien, said she believed that the money fell inside the defendant’s car.
She said, “My husband was with me in the vehicle on the way to the airport when he asked me to give him $200 out of the $3,800 he gave me to deposit in his bank account…the moment he (Stephen) helped us pack our things from the vehicle, he got into his vehicle and zoomed off immediately. Twenty minutes later, I realised the remaining $3,600 was missing. I called him, but he didn’t pick his calls. At this point, an air force officer called him with his phone and he picked the call.
“The defendant said he was in a church. I told him my money fell in his car. He said no; nothing fell down. He said he only saw the corncobs which my husband and I ate.
“We begged him to bring the vehicle so I could check myself. He came to meet us at the park and I checked. I asked him if he stopped by; he said no. Later at the police station, he said he stopped by at his house to pick up something before he left for the church.
“The air force officer took him to the airport at the departure hall and we reported the case at the airport command. I had used his service twice before that day. My husband was very devastated.”
Responding to the counsel for the defendant, Mr. Abel Iwara, during cross-examination, Musa said she kept the money “in grey little nylon; a grey pack” used by the British High Commission to keep passports
Iwara asked Musa whether it was true that the driver drove off because no commercial vehicle was allowed to stay on the departure corridors for a long time and she answered in the affirmative.
“You proceeded immediately after he dropped you to where your husband’s luggage and passport were checked,” he enquired.
“True,” she replied.
The counsel maintained that Musa returned the money in the grey pack into her bag, but she differed, saying she did not do so immediately.
She insisted that the money fell “on the floor of the defendant’s car,” adding that she was not “vigilant when coming out of the vehicle.”
Mr. P.E. Nwaka, the presiding magistrate, adjourned the case till June 4, 2018, for continuation of trial.