By Innocent Anaba & Ifeanyi Okolie
LAGOS â€” SOME of the high profile debtors ofÂ Bank PHB Plc, Equatorial Trust Bank Ltd and Spring Bank Plc, yesterday, met with officials of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, at an undisclosed location in Lagos.
The debtorsâ€™ meeting with the anti-graft agency was in connection with a summons by the EFCC to the debtors to make commitments on how they would repay the loans.
Meanwhile, Counsel to the detained former Managing Director of Bank PHB, Mr Francis Atuche, yesterday demanded that he be released on bail pending when charges will be preferred against him by the EFCC. The lawyers further demanded that their client be released on self-recognisance or upon a reasonable bail term.
Debtors meet EFCC
The EFCC meeting with the bank debtors which was earlier slated for theÂ Awolowo Road, Ikoyi office of the Commission, was moved to an undisclosed location as debtors were not comfortable with the heavy presence of journalists around the Commissionâ€™s office.
EFCC spokesman, Mr. Femi Babafemi, who confirmed the meeting, said some of the bank debtors had promised to pay off their debts and others who were not present, were still being expected by the commission as the exercise is a continuous one.
According to him, â€œthey reported. Those that could not make it sent representatives and made commitments. Those that couldnâ€™t pay today will do so tomorrow.â€
Lawyers ask for Atuche’s release
Meanwhile, lawyers of detained former Managing Direct of Bank PHB, Mr. Francis Atuche, yesterday, demanded that he be released on bail pending when charges will be preferred against him.
According to Atucheâ€™s lawyer, his continued detention since Friday, October16, was against the 1999 Constitution and a direct violation of his right to liberty and fair hearing.
He lawyers stated, â€œwe wish to draw to your attention the fact that under the constitution, except in very limited circumstances which do not apply in this case, a person should not be detained for more than 48 hours without either being released on bail or arraigned in a lawful court.
â€œWe note that our client has been in your custody for a period longer than the above. We therefore humbly apply that you kindly release him on bail pending such a time that you are ready to prefer charges against him, if any.â€