By Abdulwahab Abdulah and Jane Echewedo
A retired detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Dickson Graymond Thursday narrated how a pastor, Nsikakabasi Akpan-Jacobs, allegedly scammed Titi Atiku, wife of former Vice President Abubakar Atiku of N918million.
Giving testimonies before an Ikeja High Court presided by Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, Graymond narrated how he received a petition on the alleged fraud from Titi and how his investigation team unravelled the depth of the scam.
Led in evidence by Mr Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC prosecuting counsel, the witness said : “In 2008, I was a detective working with EFCC Abuja, we received a petition dated Dec. 12, 2008 from the law chambers of Benedict Benet and Co, the lawyers to the complainants, Florence Doregos and Fred Holmes, a German citizen.
“The petitioners alleged amongst other things that the defendants forged the board resolutions, memorandum and articles of association as well as the extraordinary board resolution of THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd.
“They used the same documents to obtain a loan from First Bank Plc and disposed of the bonded terminal and other properties of the company to Dana Motors Nigeria Plc.
“These properties of THA Shipping are valued at N1.2billion and the disposal of these assets were not with the consent of the two other directors that is Florence Doregos and Fred Holmes.” Graymond said.
Explaining how it all happened, the EFCC detective said : “One Barrister Chima Ezekolu, a lawyer to.the complainant came to our office with a power of attorney from the first complainant (Titi).
“ He shed more light on the allegations of the complainant with some supporting documents and he gave a written statement to that effect.
“The supporting documents were the company registration documents from he Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), some pictures and the share allotment document of the three directors.
“The original share allotment was that Florence Doregos at 49 percent had 4.9million ordinary shares, Fred Holmes at 26 percent had 2.6million ordinary shares.
“While the first defendant (Akpan-Jacobs) was allotted 25 percent representing 2.5million ordinary shares.
“We invited the first defendant to our office and we confronted him with the documents he forged.
“We had discovered that the initial share allotment of THA Shipping which was 10million ordinary shares were changed from 49 percent for Florence Doregos to 51 percent for Akpan-Jacobs.
“Florence Doregos and Fred Holmes were each allotted 24.5 percent shares, Akpan-Jacobs had the highest allocation of shares in the fraudulent alteration,” Graymond said.
The detective said that police analysis of the signatures proved that the signatures of Titi and Holmes were forged in the documents.
“The analysis was conducted by the Force Criminal and Investigation Department (CID) on the instruction of the law firm of Benedict Benet and Co, the complainant’s petitioners.
“Insp Ralph Nwosurike who conducted the analysis confirmed that the results of the report were authentic,” he said.
Throwing light on the involvement of Dana Motors Ltd in the case Graymond said “One Mr Ishamani, the Indian finance director of Dana Motors and one Mr Ukpeya, the legal director of the company were invited for questioning.
“We confronted them with the petition and their response was that they had earlier received a warning from the law office of Benedict Benet and Co in respect of the transaction.
“They however said that they proceeded with the transaction based on reassurances from the first and second defendants that the matter had been resolved by the three directors involved.
“It was based on this reassurance, they went ahead to consolidate the transaction.
“Dana bought the bonded terminal of THA Shipping and it’s assets at N918million, they paid the money in three trenches.
“They paid N300million twice into the bank account of THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd domiciled at First Bank Plc.
“N318million was paid into the bank account of the second defendant’s (Abdulmalik Ibrahim) law chambers.
“The N300million they paid into First Bank was to offset the loan Akpan-Jacobs obtained for himself on behalf of THA Shipping.
“This obligated First Bank to release the company documents of THA Shipping Maritime Services Ltd to Dana Motors Nigeria Ltd,” Graymond said.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye adjourned the case until Oct. 24 and 25 for continuation of hearing.