The Lagos Supreme Court in Ikeja has accused Francis Atuche, the former managing director of the liquidated Bank PHB, of stealing the bank’s N25.7bn amount.
In a decision that lasted more than 10 hours, Justice Lateefat Okunnu, Atuche’y tried with the bank’s former CEO Hugo Anyanwu.
The court charged the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) with conspiracy to commit a felony and theft against them by Amendment No. 27.
Justice Okunnu said that the EFCC has successfully proved its claims against the defendants without a reasonable doubt.
The judge rejected the defendants’ allegations that they were merely negligent.
In particular, Atuche and Anyanwu said that they abused their authority, ignored the rules and regulations, and thus endangered the funds of the bank and depositors.
The court also concluded that the convicts, using their responsibilities, provided them with unnecessary financial benefits without regard to the bank’s health.
Justice Okunnu cleared Atuche’s wife of conspiracy and theft.
According to the judge, the EFCC was unable to link him to the crime and insisted on suspicion, despite how strongly it could not replace the fact.
The judge found that her husband had not been proven to be aware of the source of the proceeds and did not have the authority to make any decision to influence the operation.
The EFCC claimed that the suspects stole about $ 25.7 billion from the bank between November 2007 and April 2008.
The anti-graft agency claimed that a total of $ 25.5 billion had been stolen from some companies, about $ 14.7 billion, and then turned over to private use.
The commission companies are Future View Securities, Extra Oil Limited, Resolution Trust and Investment Limited and Tradjek Nigeria Ltd.
The EFCC also claimed that another N11bn stolen by the suspects was used to buy about 984,375,000 Bank PHB shares for themselves.
According to the commission, the amount used to buy the shares was characterized as debt to some companies, including Guesstrade Services, Sentron Trading, Montrax Investico, Claremount Management Ltd., Trenton Trade and others.
To prove his case against the accused, the ECHR summoned 12 witnesses who provided oral evidence. Six people were also summoned to court to present some documents accepted as exhibits by the court.