Court fixes Feb 2022 for trial of convicted bank chief, Atuche for another N125bn fraud

Ogunsakin Mustapha
3 Min Read

Respite seems far away for former Managing Director of BankPHB, Mr Francis Atuche as a Federal High Court  in Lagos on Tuesday adjourned the ongoing trial of the convicted banker and another defendant, Charles Ojo for another alleged N125 billion fraud till February 22, 2022.

Atuche is currently serving jail-term passed on him by Justice Lateefat Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court of Lagos State, N25. 7 billion fraud. He was convicted and sentenced on the fraud on June 16, alongside Ugo Anyanwu, another bank Chief.

Atuche and Ojo are currently facing trial before Justice Ayokunle Faji on a 45 count charge of conspiracy and illegal and unlawful granting of billions naira of loans to some companies, Futureview Service Limited, Petosan Oil and Gas Limited, Tradjek Nigeria Limited and Extra Oil Limited.

The EFCC accused the two them of reckless granting of several billions of loans between 2006 and 2009 to Platinum Capital Limited, a company in which they both have interest.

The loans were alleged to have been granted without adequate security, an act the EFCC said violated Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act Cap 38 Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004.

They were also alleged to have conspired to grant several billion naira loans to one Futureview Service Limited “without adequate security and contrary to accepted banking practice”.

The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) were said to be contrary to Section 15(1)(a)(i) of the Failed Bank (Recovery of Debt) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act Cap F2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and liable to be punished under Section 16(1)(a) of the same Act.

Also allegedly granted loans without adequate security by the defendants were Petosan Oil and Gas Limited, Tradjek Nigeria Limited and Extra Oil Limited.

In one of the counts, both Atuche and Ojo were accused of failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure the correctness of the June 2009 Bank PHB monthly bank returns to the Central Bank of Nigeria.

They were also alleged to have on December 24, 2008 injected the sum of N650m into “Insurance PHB Limited,” contrary to Section 21(2)(a) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act Cap B3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.

The two former banks managing directors have pleaded not guilty to the charges.

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