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EFCC arraigns Atuche

26 March 2013, 16:03

Ikeja -  The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on Tuesday arraigned a former Managing Director of Bank PHB, Francis Atuche, over alleged forgery.

Atuche was charged before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of an Ikeja High Court on nine count charges of forgery.

He was arraigned alongside two employees of the Central Shared Services Centre of Keystone Bank Ltd., Joachim Nnosiri and Uguru Onyike.

EFCC counsel, Ben Ubi alleged that the accused had on March 4, in Lagos, forged board resolutions, purportedly emanating from Futureview Securities Ltd.,Tradjeck Ltd. and Extra Oil Ltd.

Ubi said the board resolutions were said to have been duly signed by the Managing Director of the three companies, Mrs Elizabeth Ebi and addressed to Keystone Bank.

He said the forged board resolutions, was the request of a N10.9 billion credit facility from the bank.

According to him, Nnosiri and Onyike, acting on behalf of Atuche, had attempted to smuggle the board resolutions into Keystone Bank headquarters in Victoria Island, Lagos.

Ubi said the documents were allegedly forged by the accused persons to weaken EFCC's case against Atuche in another criminal matter that alleged he granted hoax loans to the companies.

He said the offence contravened Sections 361 and 409 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.

The accused all pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Counsel to the accused, Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Clement Onwuenwunor and Bamidele Adewunmi, urged the court to grant them bail on liberal terms.

Ubi told the court that he was served the bail applications in court and needed time to  respond.

The judge, therefore, directed the accused to go home and come back for arguments on their bail applications.

He, then, fixed Wednesday, March 27, for hearing of Atuche's application for bail while those of the other two accused would be heard on March 28.

NAN recalls that Atuche is standing trial in two other cases before the Ikeja High Court.

He is being prosecuted alongside his wife, Elizabeth Atuche and a former Chief Financial Officer of Bank PHB, Ugo Anyanwu, before Justice Lateefat Okunnu.

The EFCC alleged that Atuche and his co-accused had allegedly stolen N25.7 billion, belonging to the bank, through the granting of hoax loans, including the N10.9 billion transaction.

The former bank chief is also being tried before Onigbanjo for allegedly conspiring with two former directors, Funmi Ademosun and Lekan Kasali, to steal N4.2 billion and N7.2 billion from the bank.



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