October 10, 2019

Alleged fraud: Court admits evidence against Atuche, adjourns trial till October 25

Francis Atuche

Justice Sherifat Solebo of the Special Offences Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos, on Thursday, admitted in evidence documents tendered by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) against a former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche.

Francis Atuche

At the resumed sitting, the prosecution counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), through the first prosecution witness (PW1), Oluwamuye Abayomi, a staff of Sterling Bank Plc, tendered the statement of account of one Kehinde Nami, statements of account of a firm, Damivok Ventures Limited, and several bank cheques purportedly issued on the directive of the defendant, which were all admitted in evidence by the court.

However, when Pinheiro sought to tender some documents through the second prosecution witness (PW2), Igueke Osikoya, a staff of Zenith Bank Plc, who was subpoenaed to present the document, counsel to the defendant, Paul Mgbeoma, opposed the admissibility of the documents.

Consequently, Pinheiro tendered the photocopy of the “subpoena,” which compelled the appearance of the second prosecution witness before the court.

Mgbeoma said the document was not duly certified and that it was not the original copy.

A statement issued by the EFCC’s Head of Media and Publicity, Wilson Uwujaren, said Justice Solebo held that “the document would be admitted in evidence due to the fact that I signed the subpoena.”

The judge, therefore, admitted the document in evidence and further directed the PW2 to certify the document and come back to tender it.
The case was adjourned till October 25, 26 and 27 for the continuation of trial.