N25.7 billion theft: Ex-Bank PHB MD, Francis Atuche, wife have a case to answer – EFCC

Francis-Atuche (Photo: Punch)

by Rachel Ogbu

Francis-Atuche (Photo: Punch)

Francis-Atuche (Photo: Punch)

Former Managing Director of Bank PHB Plc, Francis Atuche, is yet  to give an explanation on the N25.7bn theft charges it instituted against him by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the agency has said.

On Wednesday, the EFCC at a Lagos High Court, Ikeja insisted that they had potent, cogent and very forensic evident linking the defendants to the alleged crime.

Atuche, his wife, Elizabeth; and the former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Ugo Anyanwu were slammed with 27 counts of stealing the bank’s N25.7bn while he (Atuche) was the MD of the bank.

Opposing the accused persons’ “no-case submission” on Wednesday, EFCC’s counsel, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), said with the witnesses the agency had called to testify in the case, sufficient evidence had been adduced to prove their guilt.

According to reports, opposing the accused persons’ “no-case submission”, EFCC’s counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), said with the witnesses the agency had called to testify in the case, sufficient evidence had been adduced to prove their guilt.

The Punch reports:

But the defence lawyers, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) and Mr.  Sylva Ogwuemor, arguing the no-case submission applications, said the case of the prosecution was not strong enough to warrant the defence of the accused persons.

Idigbe, who represents Atuche and his wife, arguing  his application supported by a five-paragraph affidavit and a  written address,  prayed the court to dismiss the charges against his clients for being “duplicitous”.

“Counts 1 to 10 and counts 11 – 27 are similar charges that are duplicated which means that  one cannot commit the two sets of counts the same time,” he said.

He added that the prosecution witnesses were unreliable as their testimonies were tainted by contradictions of facts in relation to issues of the  actual money allegedly  stolen and acceptable banking procedures.

 


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