The former Managing Director of the defunct BankPHB, Mr Francis Atuche was on Wednesday sentenced to a six-year imprisonment.
The sentenced was delivered by an Ikeja High Court after Atuche was found guilty of over N25.7 billion fraud.
Also sentenced with Atuche is his co-defendant, Ugo Anyanwu who was the Chief Financial Officer of the bank. Atuche’s wife, Elizabeth was however discharged and acquitted her.
The trial started in 2011 went through the gamut of the Court of Appeal, and the Supreme Court before coming back to the trial court, which culminated in the judgment delivered on Wednesday. Investigations revealed that both the prosecution and defence counsel in the case filed over 200-page written addresses while the judgment took the trial judge more than 12 hours.
The trial judge, Justice Lateefat Okunnu convicted the defendants of 21 out of 27 charges against them. Atuche and Anyanwu were sentenced to six and four years respectively on each of the 21 charges on which they were convicted by the court. They would however spend six and four years respectively in correctional centres as the sentences would run concurrently.
Justice Okunnu however said the convicts must make restitution as contained in count 4 noting that the amount stolen was not up to the amount alleged in the charge.
In acquitting Mrs Atuche, the trial judge held that the EFCC failed to link her to the crime adding that suspicion no matter how strong could not take the place of fact.
She held that it was not proven that Mrs Atuche was aware of the source of the fund she received into her account from her husband and she had no powers to take any decision to influence the transaction.
The judge upheld the arguments of Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) Kemi Pinheiro, who prosecuted the case with the fiat of the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF).
Pinheiro had opposed Atuche’s contention that the stolen funds in dispute were loaned, not stolen.
The judge agreed with the prosecution and held that the money belonged to the bank and that it was capable of being stolen.
“The 1st defendant confirmed the bank’s ownership of the money when he said the bank in lending money makes profit.
The judge also held that the offences for which the convicts were charged could not be said to be mere professional negligence as claimed by them but criminal in nature.
The court specifically held that Atuche and Anyanwu abused their powers, ignored established rules and regulations thereby putting the bank and depositors funds in danger.
The court also stated that the convicts corruptly took advantage of their positions to confer on themselves undue financial benefits without regard to the health of the bank.
“I am persuaded by the statement of Pat Utomi that ‘The bank still has control over money that’s left in its coffers, no matter who uses it’
“Helen Eriyo, who is the account officer of Petosan, being unaware of the loans granted, lends credit to the testimony of Mr Ololo that he was not aware of the loan
“The alter egos and true directing mind of the companies knew nothing about the loans. The loans indeed were a hoax”, the judge said.
Justice Okunnu convicted Atuche and Anyanwu on counts 1 to 11, 14-20, 23, 24 and 27.
“The 1st and 3rd defendants did not debunk the evidence of the prosecution that the loans were used to purchase shares. They rather contended that the monies granted as loan could be used for whatever purposes.”
In a judgement that lasted over 11 hours, Justice Okunnu held that the EFCC successfully proved its case against the convicts beyond reasonable doubt.”
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BREAKING: NNPC Sacks All Top Management Staff With Less Than 15 Months To Retire
As part of further reorganization for effective operations, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company Limited (NNPC) has sacked top management staff who have less than 15 months to retire from the national oil company.
The development is coming days after the oil company announced the removal and replacement of three of the its Executive Vice Presidents (EVPs).
Those impacted by the previous shakeup included Abdulkabir Ahmed, who was hitherto in charge of gas, power and new energies; Adokiye Tombomieye, who headed the upstream segment as well as Adeyemi Adetunji, who was in charge of the downstream.
They were replaced by Olalekan Ogunleye as EVP gas, power and new energies; Oritsemeyiwa Eyesan for the company’s upstream operations, while Adedapo Segun took charge of the downstream.
In a brief statement Tuesday morning, the NNPC stated that the new reshuffling was in line with its aspiration to rejuvenate its workforce.
“In our bid to pursue effective organisational renewal to support the delivery of our strategic business objectives, it has become imperative to rejuvenate our workforce.
“Consequently, in addition to the recent exit of three executive vice presidents, other members of management staff with less than 15 months to statutory retirement will be exiting the company effective 19th September 2023,” the statement said.
The NNPC noted that the move was in line with its commitment to scale up its capabilities through targeted talent management and equal opportunity for all Nigerians.
BREAKING: Tinubu Nominates Cardoso As CBN Governor
President Bola Tinubu has nominated Dr. Olayemi Michael Cardoso as the new Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
A press statement by presidential spokesman, Ajuri Ngelale, disclosed on Friday evening that Cardoso will serve for a term of five (5) years at the first instance, pending his confirmation by the Nigerian Senate.
“This directive is in conformity with Section 8 (1) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act, 2007, which vests in the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the authority to appoint the Governor and Four (4) Deputy Governors for the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), subject to confirmation by the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“Furthermore, President Bola Tinubu has approved the nomination of four new Deputy Governors of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), for a term of five (5) years at the first instance, pending their confirmation by the Nigerian Senate,” he stated.
The new Deputy Governors include Mrs. Emem Nnana Usoro, Mr. Muhammad Sani Abdullahi Dattijo, Mr. Philip Ikeazor, and Dr. Bala M. Bello.
“In line with President Bola Tinubu’s Renewed Hope agenda, the President expects the above listed nominees to successfully implement critical reforms at the Central Bank of Nigeria, which will enhance the confidence of Nigerians and international partners in the restructuring of the Nigerian economy toward sustainable growth and prosperity for all,” Ngelale stated.
We Help Nigerians Transform Their Dreams Of Studying Abroad Into Realities – Braimah
There is no gainsaying the fact that studying abroad opens doors to limitless opportunities. From getting a comprehensive and in-depth understanding of your desired choice of course – which positions you better than your peers – to the networking opportunities it provides, studying abroad can be the door to a better future.
On this premise, thousands of Nigerians dream of studying abroad and pursue that dream. Like every other dream for greatness, studying abroad is accompanied by several challenges including complex visa processes, financial constraints, and many more that often make some give up the dream or fail at it.
To help Nigerians, especially the youths, nurture their dreams of studying abroad, Redefined Consults Limited, a reputable educational consulting company with a team of dedicated and experienced travel professionals has helped many Nigerians process their applications seamlessly.
Having been in the global education competitive landscape for a while, Redefined Consults Limited understands the unique needs of its clients as well as the challenges that come with those needs, hence the need for a personalised approach to all applications they handle.
From choosing the right destination and university to advising on the courses that make application easy, up till the moment of obtaining a visa and settling into their new academic home, Redefined Consults makes it a core need to guide every client they have worked with through every step of the process.
The Founder and Team Lead, Redefined Consult Limited, Sheriff Braimah told our correspondent: “At Redefined Consults Limited, we recognise that education is not just about academics; it is also about personal growth and cultural enrichment. That is why we go beyond the conventional role of a consultancy firm. We are driven by a passion for excellence and a genuine desire to make a positive impact on the lives of individuals seeking quality education,”
He explained that the United Kingdom, Malta, Ireland, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, and China are some of the most sought-after travel destinations for Nigerians who desire to study abroad, and the educational consulting firm makes it a priority to research schools in these destinations, have a clear understanding of their requirements and provides the knowledge while helping them navigate the opportunities offered by each destination.
“With a core understanding of students’ recruitment, some of the services offered by our company include visa counseling and assistance to ensure a smooth and seamless process. Over the last three years, we have successfully helped more than 200 students achieve their dreams of studying abroad with the help of eight experts who are professionals and know their onions.
” If studying abroad is a dream you have had for a while but do not know how to pursue it or you have failed, Redefined Consult Limited is your hope to achieve that dream. With a proven track record of transforming study abroad dreams into reality, yours could be the next success story to tell,” Braimah added.