© 2019 - International Centre for Investigative Reporting
Evans demanded ransom according to currency appreciation, says captive
Donatus Dunu, one of the victims of Chukwudumeme Onwuamadike, better known as Evans, says Evans demanded for ransom according to the strengthening or otherwise of the naira.
Dunu said this while appearing as a prosecution witness in the ongoing trial of Evans on charges of kidnapping at the Ikeja Special Offences Court, Lagos.
According to Dunu, Evans kept pegging his ransom demands in dollars, euro and naira “based on market value” — asking for dollars when the naira falls and otherwise when the currency gains.
He explained that Evans had pegged his release amount at €1 million but at that time, the naira started appreciating so he asked that the money be brought in local currency. But when the naira started depreciating, Evans demanded that the money be changed again to euro.
Dunu said that when the sum became too difficult for his family to raise, he pleaded with Evans, who later agreed to give him a 50 percent discount by asking him to bring only €500,000.
“Evans asked for my brother’s phone number and I gave him. They called my brother, Anselm Dunu, that I should tell him my bill is €1 million through a conference call. They were beating me that I should say that I had agreed that I would pay €1 million; I told my brother [as I was ordered],” Dunu said.
“They were calling my brother almost every day and beating me so that my brother would hear me cry. So at a time I asked my brother to start looking for whom to borrow money from.
“At a time they said they had been able to raise up to ₦60 million naira, which I asked the chairman [Evans] to take. I told him I would get the remaining money for him when freed but he said me and my brother were saying rubbish.
“At a time they tried to change the money to euro but Evans said no because there was a time around March when naira appreciated; he asked them not to change it anymore that it’s not euro again but naira and when naira started depreciating again he asked them to change it back to euro.
“I pleaded that euro was too hard to get and his boys advised me to ask him to give me discount and he came down from €1 million to €500,000; that was about 50% discount.”
Evans was arrested in June 2016 after Dunu escaped from his custody and subsequently led police officers to the kidnappers’ hideout.