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NIGERIA: EFCC arraigns Atuche, 2 others over forgery

EFCC arraigns Atuche and 2 othersECONOMIC and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, yesterday, arraigned former Managing Director of Bank PHB, Mr. Francis Atuche, and two officials of the bank before a Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja over alleged forgery.

He was arraigned before Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo alongside Joachim Nnosiri and Uguru Onyike.

They were docked on a nine-count charge on forgery, conspiracy and use of forged board resolutions belonging to Futureview Securities Ltd, Tradjeck Ltd. and Extra Oil Ltd into Keystone Bank, (formerly Bank PHB).

According to EFCC, the board resolutions were allegedly signed by the Managing Director of the companies, Mrs Elizabeth Ebi and addressed to Keystone Bank.

The purpose of the purported board resolutions, EFCC said, was to request a N10.9 billion credit facility from the bank.

In the charge, the anti-graft body claimed the alleged offence was committed on March 4, 2013 and run contrary to Sections 361 and 409 of the Criminal Laws of Lagos State 2011.

The trio pleaded not guilty to the charge, while the trial judge gave them the luxury of coming from home to argue their bail applications. Atuche is already enjoying a bail condition granted in a sister case before the state High Court.

He is expected in court today to argue for his bail, while the other defendants will argue theirs tomorrow.

This fresh charge is the third in the series of charges brought against Atuche by EFCC since he was removed as the bank’s the chief executive officer.

While one of the charges is pending before Justice Ofili Ajumogobia of the Federal High Court, Lagos, two others are before Justices Laatefat Okunnu and Onigbanjo of the Ikeja High Court.

In one of the cases before Justice Lateefa Okunnu, the prosecution had closed its case while Atuche is expected to open his defence or file a no-case submission.

The defence team had raised an issue on the existence of board resolutions of some companies in which the companies had solicited for a N10.9 billion credit facility from the bank, which was one of the issues expected to be resolved by the trial Judge in the N25.7 billion fraud case before Okunnu.

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