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Atuche Saga:  EFCC Tender 17 Documents, More to Come

The Nigeria foremost anti-graft agency Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), today, tendered more documents in the on going trial of Mr. Francis Atuche and Charles Ojo, before a  Federal High Court in Lagos,south west Nigeria.

      Francis Atuche, former Chief Executive Officer of Bank PHB Plc, now Keystone Bank Plc, and Charles Ojo, the former Managing Director of the defunct Spring Bank Plc, are standing trial before Justice Saliu Saidu led-court on charges bordering on alleged N125 billion fraud.
    At the resumed trial of the two accused former bank Chiefs, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) through its prosecutor, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro SAN tendered several documents before the court, which were admitted as exhibits.
     Some of the documents tendered as additional prove of evidence  by Mr. Pinheiro (SAN) including: a Certified True Copy (CTC) of share application form for Commercial Trading and Services Limited dated December 15, 2007, valued N1.5 billion; and CTC share application forms of APCO Associate Limited, dated December 19, 2007, Felimon Enterprises, dated December 16, 2007, and Multrack Investment Limited dated December 17, 2007.

The Prosecutor also tendered the CTC of current account opening  Package oil and Gas limited, a shares application forms for Stamford Global Concept, dated December 19, 2007; Gazali Yakubu Investment Limited, dated December 17, 2007; Arabian Property Management, dated December 19, 2007; Termonth Asset Management Limited, dated December 17, 2007; and Share form for Anyanko Francis Okechukwu, dated December 12, 2007.
    Other documents tendered are the Certified True Copy (CTC) of Bank PHB memo dated December 3, 2007; Bank PHB's letter of Appointment of Ehi Ehiyo, dated December 3, 2007; and Bank PHB's letter to the EFCC dated October 28, 2009.,
  Certified True Copy of Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) documents on Resolutions of Gazali Yakubu Investment Limited, Patrick Edeh Investment Limited and documents on particulars of directors of  Gazali Yakubu Investment Limited, dated May 28, 2005.
CTC of CAC resolution on removal and appointment of directors of Gazali Yakubu Investment Limited;  Commercial Trading and Services Limited, and Pelimoh Enterprises Limited dated November 29, 2005.
Certified True Copy of CAC particular of directors of AFCO and Associates; CAC form 2, CAC form 7 of Okwu Assets Management, and CAC form 2 of Okwu Asset Management.
      These companies, are some of the companies alleged to have been used by Francis Atuche to perpetrate N125 billion fraud while he was at helm of affair of BankPHB as the Managing Director. 
Lawyers  to the two accused  bank chiefs, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) leading seven other lawyers and Mr. O. Idemudua, did not oppose the tendereding and admissibility of the documents, but vehemently opposed the prosecution not to mention the contents of the document to identify them this  resulted into altercation which necessitated the presiding judge to rise for some minutes. 
Justice Saliu Saidu admitted all the documents and marked them as exhibits in the case.

After the documents were admitted and marked as exhibits, Mr. Pinheiro (SAN) urged the court for a short adjournment to enable him prepare schedule of more documents to be tendered in the case.

Consequently, the court granted the application for adjournment, and the matter was adjourned till November 24.for continuation of trial.

The two former bank Chiefs Francis Atuche and Charles OJO were arraigned before the court by the EFCC, in an amended 45-count charge bordering on alleged N125 billion fraud, conspiracy, reckless granting and approval of loans and money laundering between September 1, 2006 and 2009.

The anti-graft agency also accused Atuche of applying N3.5billion being proceeds of unlawful loans granted to Tradjek Nigeria Limited, a subsidiary of Futureview Financial Services Ltd, in payment for his acquisition of shares of Bank PHB using various companies as fronts with an intention to conceal the ownership of the loans,as  he collaborated with different companies to conceal the genuine origins of the N3.5billion used to acquire the bank's shares.

The alleged offences according to the anti-graft agency, contravene Section 14(1) of the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act and Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap 38, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004. While offence of reckless granting of loans contravene Section 7(1)(b) of the Advance Fee Fraud and other Fraud Related Offences Act and punishable under section 7(2)(b).


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