A few years ago, Mrs. Titi Atiku Abubakar, the wife of the Presidential candidate of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in the last 2019 election, has to speak out after she was duped by who she called her errand boy.
She lost a multi-million naira to an errand boy in controversial circumstances. In the story you’re about to read, the so-called errand boy was used as a front to launder monies, but the errand boy outsmarts the Osun State-born businesswoman.
Only a few people know that Alhaja Amina Titi Abubakar, wife of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, owns a multi-million Naira company until the bubble was busted a few years ago.
That was when it came to public knowledge how an acclaimed man of God a “pastor” whom Mrs. Abubakar called her errand boy duped her several millions of Naira and attempted to take over her “secret” company away from her.
Atiku Abubakar as a dynasty
Atiku Abubakar has become a dynasty even before the Adamawa-born politician became the vice president to Chief Olusegun Obasanjo in 1999.
While her husband is a co-founder of Intels Nigeria Limited, an oil servicing business with extensive operations in Nigeria as well as the founder of Adama Beverages Limited, and the American University of Nigeria (AUN), both in Yola, Adamawa, Mrs. Abubakar founded THA Shipping.
Only a few things are known about THA Shipping, which was founded when Alhaji Atiku was the Vice President. It was alleged that Mrs. Abubakar used the said errand boy as a front to win multi-million Nairas contracts from the government.
Mrs. Abubakar cried out
In July 2017, in a report by the Premium Times, Titi Atiku, had to run to an Ikeja High Court that Akpan-Jacobs, the pastor who allegedly defrauded her of N918 million, was her “errand boy”.
Mrs. Atiku made this claim while being cross-examined by 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,” Mrs. Atiku said.
The errand boy slammed with a 14-count charge
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, had charged Mr 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 Mrs. Atiku, Mr. Akpan-Jacobs, and Fred Holmes, her German business partner.
Mrs. Atiku was alleged to be the majority shareholder with 49 percent shares, while Messrs. Holmes and Akpan-Jacobs each had 25 percent shares.
Mr. 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 shareholding in his favour and forged the company’s board resolutions.
He allegedly allotted 70 percent shares to himself and 15 percent shares each to Mrs. Atiku and Mr. Holmes.
According to the EFCC, welding a fraudulent shareholding power, Mr. 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 Mrs. Atiku’s claim that Mr. Akpan-Jacobs was her errand boy, Mr. Ibe asked: “He was made a Managing Director (MD), how can an errand boy be made an MD?
How errand boy became the 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 Mr. Ibe’s claims that Mr. 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.
While giving evidence on May 23, Mrs. 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.
She denied Mr Ibe’s accusations that Mr. Akpan-Jacobs never forged her signature either as Florence Doregos and Titi Abubakar in company documents.
Mrs. Atiku also denied Mr. 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.
Plan to kick out Mr Akpan-Jacobs the errand boy
Mrs. Atiku also told the court that she and Mr. Holmes on April 6, 2009 passed a resolution removing Akpan-Jacobs from the ownership of THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd, but it seemed it was late.
“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, reverted 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.
Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC counsel, while re-examining Mrs. Atiku, asked if she signed any the company resolutions used in the alleged fraud.
“Did you ever signboard resolutions assigning anyone as company secretary, approving the sale of the property, and to loan money from First Bank on behalf of THA Shipping?”
Mrs. Atiku replied: “I never signed any board resolution for any of those purposes.”
The ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) has alleged in the past that Atiku Abubakar was involved in some questionable deal, but the government has been unable to come up with strong evidence to nail the PDP presidential candidate.
The only one that could be traced to the family is Intels. The company, owned by Alhaji Abubakar, was said to have failed to remit over N52 billion ($145.84m) to the Federal Government.
Mrs Abubakar once said that her husband “is not a thief” and would not steal if he got to power as Nigeria’s president.
The story of Amina Titi Atiku Abubakar is a typical story of Nigerian politicians and their associates; how they cover up illegal deals. The errand boy here was only smart as well. Bushmeat catch the hunter!