A wife of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku, Titi, yesterday denied entering into a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with her business partner, Pastor Nsikakabasi Akpan-Jacobs, to dispose of a bonded terminal established by her company, THA Shipping Maritime Services Limited.
Mrs Abubakar stated this while being cross examined by Mr. Amos Ibe, counsel to Akpan-Jacobs, who allegedly defrauded her of N918million.
The case is before an Ikeja High court presided over by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye.
“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 Limited.
“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 Economic and Financial Crimes (EFCC) had charged Akpan-Jacobs, Abdulmalik Ibrahim and Dana Motors Limited with a 15- count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing and fraudulent conversion of property worth N918 million belonging to THA Shipping Maritime Services Limited.
The EFCC had also alleged that Akpan-Jacobs, welding a fraudulent shareholding power, sold a property belonging to the company to Dana Motors Nigeria for N918 million.
The property is said to be located at Plot C63 A, Amuwo-Odofin Commercial Layout along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos.
During proceedings yesterday, the defence attempted to dispute Mrs Abubakar’s claims that she invested over N1.2billion into the business transactions with the defendants.
“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?
“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 would become a court case,” she said.
She insisted that she trusted the first defedant and thought that, being a pastor, he would not defraud her.
“I thought that he was being genuine with me during our business dealings,“ she said.
Mrs Abubakar accused Akpan-Jacobs of allegedly using her company property as a collateral for a bank loan that he sought when he wanted to run for the Akwa-Ibom gubernatorial elections.
“He used my bonded terminal as collateral for a loan when he wanted to run for Akwa Ibom governor. When he couldn’t refund the money, the bank wanted to acquire the bonded terminal, he sold it to Dana Motors Limited.
“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”.
She claimed that Akpan-Jacobs, who also doubled as the company’s Managing Director and Secretary, had gone to the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) to alter the shareholding in his favour by forging the company’s board resolution.
She alleged that under the shares arrangement organised by her partner, Akpan-Jacobs allotted 70 per cent to himself and 15 per cent shares each to her and Holmes.
When questioned why she used different names in company documents relating to the company like Florence Doregos used in the petition from the EFCC as well as other fake names in documents, she said: it was under her 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 Ilesa (Osun State) 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.”
Mr Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC counsel, opposed Ibe’s request.
He recalled that there had been four adjournments at the instance of the defence.
He said he had another witness who had travelled on four occasions for 15 hours by road from Yola and the case kept being adjourned.
He requested for a cost of N750,000 from the defendants to cover the financial expenses of the witness.
Justice Ipaye granted a cost of N100,000 against Akpan-Jacobs and adjourned the case until July 5 and 6 for continuation of trial.