B-R-E-A-K-I-N-G N-E-W-S: Court Strikes Out N25bn Fraud Case Against Former Bank PHB Boss, Atuche, Others

Francis AtucheA Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja Monday struck out a N25.7 billion criminal charge brought Mr. Francis Atuche, former Managing Director of Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank Plc) and others.

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission had instituted a 27-count charge including stealing and conspiracy against Mr. Atuche; his wife, Elizabeth; and a former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Ugo Anyanwu.

In a ruling delivered by the presiding judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo, the court held that it is duty bound to comply with the decisions of Court of Appeal in the appeal of Okey Nwosu and Erastus Akingbola.

The judge further noted that though the prosecution, in its submission, was right to say that count one to ten of the charge was anchored on stealing, which falls within the purview of State High Court, it however, failed to make any submission as to whether count 11 to 27 have any nexus with shares and stocks.

“The case on all, falls with Okey Nwosu’s case. Count one to ten is within the ambit of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State because it deals with stealing. Counsel to the Commission did not make any submission to as whether count 11 to 27 have any nexus with shares and stocks. The criminal charge is hereby struck out and the accused persons are hereby discharged”, the Justice Lawal-Akapo ruled.