N27b fraud: Former Bank PHB boss, Francis Atuche has case to answer

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A former Managing Director of Bank PHB Plc, now Keystone Bank Limited, Francis Atuche; his wife, Elizabeth; and his associate, Ugo Anyanwu, and others are to answer charges against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Justice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja, on Monday, said they should be ready to open their defence in the N27 billion scam they were accused of.

The Judge said: “A prima facie case has been established by the EFCC against the defendants, and as a result, two applications before the court by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants cannot succeed and are thereby overruled and dismissed.

“The defendants are hereby called upon to open their case.

“A question we need to ask is, has enough been said to warrant an explanation from each of the defendants?”

“The 27-count charge against the defendants established that they all fraudulently converted bank’s money for personal use.

She further stated that, “the prosecution has enough evidence before me.

“About 12 witnesses have been called and 272 exhibits have been presented before the court by the prosecution.”

In addition, she declared that proofs have been presented by the prosecution that huge sum of money was stolen through the former Bank PHB and that all the stolen funds were diverted by the first defendant, Atuche, for his personal use.

Justice Okunnu, after dismissing the two applications filed by the defendants, adjourned the case to, July 17, October 2, 4, 23, 24 and 25, 2013

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