A Nigerian pastor who allegedly defrauded former vice-president Atiku Abubakar’s wife has reportedly confessed to the crime.
A confessional statement tendered before an Ikeja High Court on Tuesday exposed how Pastor Nsikakabasi Akpan-Jacobs voluntarily confessed defrauding Mrs Titi Atiku, the wife of former Vice-President Abubakar Atiku of N918 million.
Mr Dickson Graymond, a retired detective with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission ( EFCC ) insisted on the voluntariness of Akpan-Jacob’s alleged confessional statement while giving evidence during a trial.
While being led in evidence by Mr Babatunde Sonoiki, the EFCC prosecuting counsel, Graymond said: “There are so many things that he confided in me that he refused to put into writing.
“He admitted to me that Florence Doregos was Titi Atiku but he refused to put that into writing.
“He confided in me that he wanted to contest in the Akwa-Ibom elections and that as soon as he begs Her Excellency, the matter will be over.
“All what he told me were not forced, I did not even force him to write all what he confided in me in his confessional statement.
“All what he said in his statement was of his own free will.”
During his cross-examination by Mr Amos Ibe, Akpan-Jacob’s defence counsel, the retired detective denied illegally detaining the pastor in EFCC’s custody for three weeks and denying him access to legal representation.
“The first defendant (Akpan-Jacobs) was served with bail conditions by the EFCC but he could not provide sureties and we could not grant him bail on self-recognisance because of the gravity of the case against him.
“He did not spend three weeks with us but six days and he was given the opportunity to produce a lawyer but he refused, saying he will write his statement on his own.
“Dapo and Chima (EFCC operatives) did not force him to write any undertaking,” he told the court.
Graymond also denied bringing Akpan-Jacobs to the Abuja office of the EFCC on the influence of Titi Atiku.
Earlier during the proceedings, Ibe had objected to the tendering of statements Akpan-Jacobs had made at the EFCC offices dated Feb. 6, 12, and 13, 2009, March 4 and 5, 2009 and April 2, 2009 on the grounds that they were not given voluntarily.
Following Ibe’s objection, Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye, in her ruling, ordered that a trial-within-trial should commence.
The EFCC had slammed Akpan-Jacobs; Abdulmalik Ibrahim, a lawyer; and Dana Motors Ltd 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 Titi Atiku, Akpan-Jacobs and Fred Holmes, her German business partner.
Mrs Atiku was allegedly the majority shareholder with 49 per cent shares, while Messrs. 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 shareholding in his favour and forged the company’s board resolutions.
Under the new shareholding arrangement, he allegedly allotted 51 per cent shares to himself and 24.5 percent shares each to Mrs Atiku and Mr Holmes.
According to the EFCC, welding a fraudulent shareholding power, Akpan-Jacobs also 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.
Justice Oluwatoyin Ipaye adjourned the case until Oct. 25 for the continuation of trial-within-trial.