A Nigerian woman, identified as Mercy Ogbedo, who claims she was duped into marrying a billionaire who was already wed is to fight on against a divorce court order that she must pay the tycoon’s £100,000 legal bill, according to the Evening Standard.
Her 2002 wedding to Nigerian shipping magnate, Moses Taiga, was a truly spectacular event.
Mrs Ogbedo, 45, of Finchley, has two children by Mr Taiga, who owns a string of London properties, and says it was only later that she found her husband already had a wife. For more than a decade she has petitioned UK divorce courts for financial support from him.
Last year, however, a judge ruled that, despite her being “of limited means”, she could not be awarded a penny in maintenance from Mr Taiga. In addition she was ordered to pay an estimated £100,000 towards his legal bills.
Challenging that ruling in the Appeal Court, her barrister Timothy Scott, QC, said the lavish 2002 ceremony “duped” her into thinking she was a lawfully wedded wife. He said that soon after her wedding she found that in 1974 Mr Taiga wed at an Anglican church in neighbouring Benin. “She ought to be permitted to apply for financial relief in Eng- land by virtue of that ceremony,” he said.
Mr Scott added that although more than one wife is permitted in Nigeria, Mr Taiga’s 1974 church wedding invalidated the 2002 marriage. However, a Nigerian court found the 2002 ceremony was not just invalid but a “non-marriage”.
In October last year the High Court in London ruled that English courts could not hand Mrs Ogbedo part of Mr Taiga’s fortune. The Appeal Court refused to overturn the judgment, though Lord Justice McFarlane said he had “real sympathy for the wife’s position”.
However she was granted permission to appeal against the legal costs bill.
Mr Taiga has ended his 1974 marriage and wed a third woman, Yinka — with whom he has quadruplets.