Titi Atiku Abubakar, the wife of former Vice-President, Atiku Abubakar, told an Ikeja High Court in Lagos State 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 Amos Ibe, the defence counsel to Akpan-Jacobs.
She said: “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.”
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission 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 Limited.
THA Shipping Maritime Services Limited, a company created in 2000, is owned by Abubakar, Akpan-Jacobs and Fred Holmes, her German business partner.
Abubakar 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 to alter the shareholding 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 Abubakar and Holmes.
According to the EFCC, wielding a fraudulent shareholding power, Akpan-Jacobs sold a property belonging to the company to Dana Motors Nigeria Limited for N918 million.
The property is located at Plot C63 A, Amuwo-Odofin Commercial Layout along Oshodi-Apapa Expressway, Lagos State.
Responding to Abubakar’s claim that Akpan-Jacobs was her errand boy, Ibe asked: “He was made a Managing Director.
“How can an errand boy be made an MD?”
Abubakar said: “He was made an MD to stand in for 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 the ex-VP denied Ibe’s claims that Akpan-Jacobs owned and promoted THA Shipping Maritime Services Limited and only brought her on board to bring in big briefs and clients.
She said: “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.”
While giving evidence on May 23, Abubakar 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.
She denied Ibe’s accusations that Akpan-Jacobs never forged her signature either as Florence Doregos and Titi Abubakar in company documents.
Abubakar also denied Akpan-Jacobs’s claims that she never contributed to the construction of the building that housed the company.
She said: “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.
“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.”
Abubakar 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 Limited.
She disclosed: “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, Chima, went to Dana Motors Limited, 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 Chima went to Dana Motors Limited 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 Springerbeck, a German citizen.
“I, however, reverted the power of attorney to my lawyer after I noticed that she had a lot of excesses.
“Akpan used the property as a 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 Limited.
“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.”
Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC counsel, while re-examining Abubakar, asked if she signed any the company resolutions used in the alleged fraud.
Sonoiki said: “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?”
Abubakar 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