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Pastor who defrauded me of N918m was my `errand boy’, Titi Atiku tells court

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Mrs Titi Atiku, wife of former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku, told an
Ikeja High Court that Akpan-Jacobs, the pastor, who allegedly
defrauded her of N918 million was her “errand boy”.

Titi made this claim while being cross-examined on Wednesday by Mr
Amos Ibe, the defence counsel to Akpan-Jacobs.

“I paid N49 million for the land used as the premises of THA Shipping,
my partner Fred Holmes never contributed to the buying of the land but
he contributed to the building of the property.

“The N49 million was given to Akpan-Jacobs to purchase the land, but
did not know who he bought the land from.

“He never contributed a dime, he was just like an errand boy,” Atiku said.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) had charged
Akpan-Jacobs with a 14-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing
and fraudulent conversion of property worth N918 million belonging to
THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd.

THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd, a company created in 2000, is
owned by Atiku, Akpan-Jacobs and Fred Holmes, her German business
partner.

Atiku was alleged to be the majority shareholder with 49 per cent
shares, while Holmes and Akpan-Jacobs each had 25 per cent shares.

Akpan-Jacobs, who also doubled as the company’s Managing Director and
Secretary, was alleged to have gone to the Corporate
Affairs Commission (CAC) to alter the share holding in his favour and
forged the company’s board resolutions.

He allegedly allotted 70 per cent shares to himself and 15 per cent
shares each to Titi and Holmes.

According to the EFCC, welding a fraudulent shareholding power,
Akpan-Jacobs sold a property belonging to the company to Dana Motors
Nigeria Ltd for N918 million.

The property is located at Plot C63 A, Amuwo-Odofin Commercial Layout along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos.

Responding to Atiku’s claim that Akpan-Jacobs was her errand boy, Ibe
asked: “He was made a Managing Director (MD), how can an errand boy be made an MD?

“He was made an MD to stand in for Mr Fred Holmes because Holmes had not resigned from his job.

“When it was time for Akpan to step down as the MD, he refused because
by then he had perfected his fraudulent acts.”

The wife of ex-VP denied Ibe’s claims that Akpan-Jacobs owned and
promoted THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd and only brought her on
board to bring in big briefs and clients.

“Is he the one who bought the land, built the building? He was merely
supervising.

“My clout gave the company a lot of prestige, a lot of people wanted
to do business with us and people brought a lot of
containers to us,” she said.

NAN recalls that while giving evidence on May 23, Atiku had told the
court that she had used her maiden name, Florence Doregos,

for business transactions because she was serving in government at the time.

Pastor who defrauded me of N918m was my `errand boy’, Titi Atiku tells court

She denied Ibe’s accusations that Akpan-Jacobs never forged her
signature either as Florence Doregos and Titi Abubakar in company
documents.

Mrs Atiku also denied Akpan-Jacobs claims that she never contributed
to the construction of the building that housed the company.

“I have a breakdown of the costs used in the construction of the
building, Akpan-Jacobs gave me the breakdown in 2002 but he did not
sign it.

“I never said the property was built by Julius Berger, Mr Holmes was a
Julius Berger staff and he might have used his connections to make the
building a solid structure.

“There was a document that Akpan-Jacobs had showed me that was signed Abubakar, I told him that that was not Titi Abubakar’s signature.

“He forged Florence Doregos signature in a number of documents,” she said.

Atiku also told the court that she and Holmes on April 6, 2009 passed
a resolution removing Akpan-Jacobs from the ownership of THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd.

“He had sold the property by the time we passed that resolution but we
wrote to Akpan notifying him of what we wanted to do.

“My lawyer, Mr Chima went to Dana Motors Ltd made efforts to stop the
sale of the property because by then, they had not given Akpan much
money for the sale of the property.

“When Mr Chima went to Dana Motors Ltd to tell them that the property
was not for sale, they confided in him that the property was sold to
Akpan for N918 million.

“I only gave power of attorney to one Ms Springerbeck, a German
citizen; I, however, reversed the power of attorney to my lawyer after
I noticed that she had a lot of excesses.

“Akpan used the property as collateral for a loan from First Bank
because he needed funds to run for governor of Akwa-Ibom.

“When he could not pay the loan and settle his creditors, he sold THA
Shipping Maritime Services Ltd.

“I am not aware that a deed of assignment was signed by a secretary
and director of the company, Akpan did not introduce any secretary to
me,” she said.

Mr Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC counsel, while re-examining Atiku,
asked if she signed any the company resolutions used in the alleged
fraud.

“Did you ever sign board resolutions assigning anyone as company
secretary, approving the sale of the property and to loan money from
First Bank on behalf of THA Shipping?”

Atiku replied: “I never signed any board resolution for any of those purposes.”

Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye adjourned the case until July 6 for
continuation of trial.

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