Black beauty model Hamamat Montia , Miss Malaika 2006 and winner of Model of Africa Universe 2007, has told NEWS-ONE the inside story of how her billionaire ex-lover from Finland, Versa Keskinen, accused her of stealing a $35,000 worth Toyota Highlander 4WD and dragged her to court over the matter which made headline news in Ghana for years.
Until last Thursday when the Court ruled that Hamamat did not steal the car, she had been tight-lipped over the matter until this interview in which she gave details of her ex-billionaire lover, their rendezvous in Finland, why they broke up and how she is moving on with her life, and her new husband with whom she has two children.
NEWS-ONE first asked Hamamat how she felt walking about with the tag of a ‘car thief’ on her neck.
How was the feeling?
People shunned me but my most concern was my children. My son is about nine years and we live in an internet world. The other time he told me he searched my name on Google and I got scared thinking what story may pop into his face about me and how he would take all that. How was I to explain to my nine-year-old son I [was] not a car thief and that the car was a gift from a man I dated before I met his father, a man he never knew?
How do you feel now?
I feel something has been lifted off my shoulders because this allegation that I am a car thief has been like a dark cloud following me for years. I would be in the room and cry and it has been about five years. And the media kept splashing my photos and labelling me as a car thief. Now that the truth is out, I am very relieved and I can go back to my career. This modelling and showbiz is all I have known since I was a teenager and this happened and it slowed me down. Now I know my life is about to begin again.
What is the exact story about this car?
Versa, the Finish guy I was dating, bought me the car for my birthday when he visited Ghana to meet my parents and ask for my hand in marriage. It was around my birthday when he visited Ghana so he asked what I wanted for my birthday and I told him a car. We went hunting for a car of my choice and I finally settled on one. It was brought to us and I had to test drive it. I told him it was okay for me and he made them do everything to get the car for me and register it in my name. When he returned, he sent them the money for the car and the papers were given to me. He has never even sat in it. Months later we broke up.
I visited him in Finland and he was very abusive. He was showing me a new side of himself I had never known. He was violent and was not treating me with respect, dignity or even as a human being. He was an alcoholic and would barge into my room and get physical. I was scared and had to end the relationship and return to Ghana.
Three years after we broke up, I got married to the man I love and the man who loves me and I was about to have my baby for him in the United States when I had a phone call that I had stolen a car from my past relationship so the police wanted me and that the news was everywhere in Ghana—in the papers, online, social media, everywhere—with my photos.
How did your husband take all this?
My husband was not happy but he asked me to remain calm and he got me a lawyer. He and I had spoken about my past relationship and he knows everything about the car—who bought it for me, why we broke up and all. He was very supportive and helped me through everything.
Did your friends believe you?
Some did not and there is a reason: I won Malaika at an early age. I had just turned 18 and from there, my modelling career shot up and I was moving from one country to another. I would come home and not have time for my friends as I used to. This brought some separation and some thought I had become proud because I was having all the material things in life while some were still struggling. When the car theft issue came up, some were excited and used that against me.
Why were you silent without telling your story for all these years?
My husband and our lawyers asked me to remain silent. I really wanted to speak in the media to tell my story but the lawyer restrained me. I had to stay away from the media during those hard times. It was a very difficult time for me but my husband was showing me so much support I felt safe in his presence and at peace just staying around him or my family. They showed me support when some were saying I had disgraced the family name.
I did not know how to deal with it and did not even want to go out for someone to ask me a question about it. I did not want to draw attention because our marriage was very new and everyone knows me and people were asking my husband questions whether it was true his new wife was a car thief.
What car was it?
Thinking about the car now, it is even annoying that I went to court because of that Toyota Highlander, 2008 model, which sold for $35,000. I have since then changed cars. I’m now driving a Jeep Wrangler.
Tell us about the ex-lover who accused you
His name is Versa. He is a very successful entrepreneur in Finland and owns several luxury hotels, malls, television stations and he is well spread. He enjoys celebrity status in his country and has a very huge fan base.
How did you meet him?
It was through a friend of his by name Carl. Carl said they wanted to do a beauty pageant for African women in Europe and they wanted me to be a judge. Carl then introduced me to Versa because Versa owned a TV station interested in showing the pageant live. I had to go to Finland for us to finalise the discussions. I went with my mother because it was my first time there. But when we got there, it became a different game.
When my mom and I got to the airport, we met Carl and he was with Versa who was holding a big bouquet of red roses. And he was very excited. I became suspicious because I know what red roses mean.
Had he discussed love with you before this incident?
No. He had never. But it became very big celebrity news in Finland that Versa was dating a black girl. He spoke about me on social media a lot and people knew my name, age and everything about me.
Were you actually dating or he thought you were dating?
Oh yes. After a while we started dating. I was getting to know him and we were staying in same house but different bed rooms. We never got intimate because I was still getting to know him and I had not even fallen in love. Remember he was head over heels in love even before he set eyes on me and he was waiting for me to start to love him.
But almost every morning he would put up a write up on social media about me—how I slept, what I cooked, how spicy he was, how he loves me, what time I woke up from bed and other personal stuffs. No one knew why he was writing about me but his fan base was very interested and it was news to them. Love is not magic and I had to see if I could fall in love with him but it just did not happen.
Any final words or advice you want to share?
I feel I am not the only one going through this. I know there are several women out there who have dated men and when the relationship goes bad, the men demand to reclaim every gift they have given the women. It is not right and men ought to stop those things.
I want women to know that when you cohabit with someone and the person gives you a gift, the person has no right to come back for it simply because you are no more together or the relationship went bad. There are laws governing such behaviour.
Girls need to be wise about these things and know what is a gift meant for you and what you are only keeping for your guy. During the painful times of the court case, there were girls who told me their stories about how their men painted them black and took back every gift they received during the relationship.
Same applies to males too. When your female partners give you gifts, they cannot come back for [them].
Thanks for the interview
Thanks for the opportunity.
By Halifax Ansah-Addo (Twitter: @HalifaxAnsahAdd)
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