CBN, Keystone Bank tender more documents used by Atuche, Ojo in N125bn fraud

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Francis Atuche, former Bank PHB managing director
Francis Atuche, former Bank PHB managing director
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The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has signified its intention to tender additional documents used by Mr. Francis Atuche and Charles Ojo, the former Managing Directors of of the defunct Bank PHB and Spring Bank Plc, in alleged N125 billion fraud.

EFCC through its prosecutor, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) leading Chukwudi Enebeli, told Justice Ayokunle Faji on Friday.

At the resumed trial of Atuche and Ojo, on Friday, Pinheiro (SAN), while informing the court of outcome of subpoena issued to the prosecution, to produce witnesses from the apex bank and Keystone Bank Plc, introduced one Eze Ajeigbu, from Keystone Bank, who he said will collate and prepare more documents, for the officer of the bank that will tender it before the court.

Pinheiro (SAN) however, told the court that the Keystone Bank official, needed more time to collate and prepare the said documents.

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The prosecutor therefore asked the court for a short date, to enable the bank official get the documents prepared.

Pinheiro (SAN) submissions and request was objected to by the duo of Paul Mgbeoma, who stood in for Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN) and Victor Obari.

Consequently, Justice Faji adjourned the case till December 7 and 11, 2020, for further trial.

Both Atuche and Ojo are charged before the court on 45-count charge of conspiracy, 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.

They were accused of recklessly 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.

The were further alleged to have conspired to grant several billions of naira loans to one Futureview Service Limited “without adequate security and contrary to accepted banking practice”.

They were said to have acted 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, they allegedly granted loans without adequate security by the defendants to 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.