Wife of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, Mrs. Titi Atiku, on Tuesday told a Federal High Court in Ikeja that a business partner who is a pastor defrauded her of N918million.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had slammed the accused pastor, Nsikakabasi Akpan-Jacobs, with a 15 count charge on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of property worth N918million belonging to THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd.
According to Mrs. Abubakar, she thought the pastor being a man of God could not defraud her.
“I thought that the first defendant, being a pastor, he will not defraud me.
“I thought that he was being genuine with me during our business dealings,” She said.
The counsel to the pastor, Amos Ibe, while cross examining Mrs. Titi Abubakar, asked why she used different monikers in company documents relating to the fraud.
“Before I start cross examining you Ma, should I refer to you as Your Excellency?
“Why was the name Florence Doregos used in the petition from the EFCC which is exhibit one, as well as other fake names in documents you used to transact business with the first defendant?,” Mr. Ibe, the pastor’s lawyer asked.
The former Vice President’s wife in her reply said;
“I am Her Excellency forever, it was under my instruction and direction that the petition was written.
“My name is Florence Doregos, my name is Titi Amina Atiku Abubakar, the Mrs in the petition is a mistake made by my Lawyer.
“Florence is my name and it was easy for me to use Doregos while I was in state service.
“The name of my biological father is Dorego Albert, we are from Ilesha but I have cousins who are from the Republic of Benin.
“I can choose Doregos, I can choose Albert as my surname, they are all my names, even Dino Melaye, his name is Daniel but he calls himself Dino.
“I can twist my name anyhow I want.”
“I married my husband at the Ikoyi Registry in 1971.
“I was a Christian before I married my husband, Angelina is my baptismal name, Florence is my confirmation name.
“When I got married to my husband, I converted to Islam and I have been called Amina Titilayo, Titilayo was what I was called at home,” she said.
The lawyer further questioned Mrs. Titi’s real state of origin.
He noted that in a book written in honour of her husband titled ‘Atiku: The Story of Atiku Abubakar,’ claimed that she was from a different LGA in Adamawa State and not Ilesha as she stated earlier.
“I am from my husband’s Local Government Area by virtue of marriage.
“Whether I’m from the moon o, that’s not the matter on ground,” she said.
Consequently, the lawyer tried to submit the book to the presiding judge, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, as evidence, but was however rejected because it was a private document.
“The document does not fall under the definition of a public document under the Evidence Act, it is a private document, it is therefore rejected,” Justice Ipaye said.
The company THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd was established in 2000 by Mrs. Titi Atiku, Pastor Akpan-Jacobs and Fred Holmes.
The former VP’s wife owned 49% shares, while Holmes and Akpan-Jacobs each had 25% shares.
However Akpan-Jacobs who was the company’s Managing Director and Secretary was accused of going to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to alter the share holding and forging the company’s board resolution.
He allegedly allocated 70% shares to himself and 15% shares to Mrs. Titi and Holmes, making him the largest share holder in the company.
Akpan-Jacobs later sold a property located at Plot C63 A, Amuwo-Odofin Commercial Layout along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in Lagos, belonging to the company to Dana Motors Nigeria Ltd for N918million.
The defendant however during the hearing on Tuesday denied Mrs. Atiku’s claim that she invested over N1.2billion into the company.
“Your petition stated that you invested over N200 million and in another document it stated that you invested over N1.2billion, which fact is correct?
“Do you have accounting reports, did you hire an auditor to look at the accounts, how did you arrive at N1.2billion?
she said; “N200 million is the money I spent in building the bonded terminal, by the time it was ready, it was worth N1.2billion.
“Akpan-Jacobs never gave me any records, I was in the state service, I did not get any auditor, Akpan-Jacobs has the evidence of the money I spent, I didn’t know that our business transactions will become a court case.”
She further accused Akpan-Jacob of using her company property as collateral for a bank loan when he wanted to run for Akwa-Ibom governorship election.
“He used my bonded terminal as a collateral for a loan when he wanted to run for governorship of Akwa-Ibom, when he couldn’t refund the money the bank wanted to acquire the bonded terminal, he sold it to Dana Motors Ltd,
“I was the largest shareholder of THA Shipping Company with 49% of shares, my German partner Fred Holmes had 26% and Akpan-Jacobs has 25%.
“Akpan-Jacobs never contributed a dime to the company, I couldn’t be involved in all the documentation because I was in service.
“He did the registration and promotion of the company, he brought all the papers to me at the villa to sign, he later fraudulently changed the shareholding powers of my shipping company to favour himself.
“He gave me 15 percent, Holmes 15 percent and he took 70 percent shareholding power for himself.
“I never entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with him to sell the company, that is why I’m in court, when he couldn’t repay the loan, he sold the company to Dana Motors Ltd.
“When the fraud happened, we initially agreed to settle out of court, but instead of settling, he went to sell the cranes and the company, giving the EFCC N16 million which I received,” she said.
The case was adjourned to July 5 and 6 for hearing due to the Akpan-Jacob’s lawyer’s ill health.