Woman ordered to pay Nigerian billionaire’s legal bill

Family Law | 2 Nov 2014 2

A woman who claims she was tricked into marriage by an already married billionaire has been ordered to pay him £100,000 in legal costs.

In 2002, Mercy Ogbedo married Nigerian shipping magnate Moses Taiga. The ceremony involved her feet being washed by village elders and a dowry being paid for her.

Shortly afterwards, she discovered that Taiga was already married to a woman in Benin, West Africa.

Even though by Nigerian law, having more than one wife is legal, Ogbedo applied to the English courts to get the marriage dissolved. She also sought maintenance for the two children they had while married.

The court ruled in favour, and said Taiga should pay her £300,000 per month. However, the husband argued before a Nigerian court that his marriage to Ogbedo was invalid due to his already having a wife. He argued successfully, as the Nigerian court ruled his union with Ogbedo a “non-marriage”.

Back in England, the High Court ruled that, as she had never been legally married to Taiga, she was not entitled to any of his wealth, and had to pay around 80 per cent of his legal costs, which was £100,000.

Ogbedo’s lawyer called the decision “incomprehensible”, adding that his client had been “duped” and should be allowed to apply for financial relief “by virtue of that marriage ceremony”.

The blog team at Stowe is a group of writers who share their advice on the wellbeing and emotional aspects of divorce or separation from personal experience. Guest contributors also regularly contribute to share their knowledge.

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    1. Andrew says:

      Marilyn: Is there a judgment or a press report that you could provide a link to?

    2. Cameron Paterson says:

      Andrew – unfortunately the judgement does not appear to have been published yet. However, you can read the Evening Standard’s report here:


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