Tue. Sep 21st, 2021

Court freezes Ex-banker, Atuche assets worth N19bn

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Victoria Ogunrinde

The Lagos State High Court, Ikeja Division have been frozen the Assets worth N19.1 billion belonging to convicted Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche.

Presiding Judge Lateefat Okunnu gave the order on Thursday in an ex-parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

The N19.1 billion fund was deposited in 24 different banks in Nigeria, including Access Bank Plc, Citi Bank Ltd, Ecobank Nigeria Ltd, Fidelity Bank Nigeria Plc, First Bank of Nigeria Plc, First City Monument Bank and Globus Bank Ltd, Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Heritage Bank Ltd, Keystone Bank Ltd, Lotus Bank Ltd, Mainstreet Bank Plc.

They were also deposited in Polaris Bank Plc, Platinum Mortgage Bank Ltd, Providus Bank Ltd and Stanbic IBTC Nigeria Ltd, Standard Chartered Bank, Sterling Bank Plc, Titan Trust Bank Ltd, Union Bank Of Nigeria Plc, United Bank For Africa Plc, Unity Bank Plc, Wema Bank Plc and Zenith Bank Plc.

The EFCC, in its application, alleged that the jailed bank MD used 22 firms and 15 persons, including Ugo Anyanwu, a former chief financial officer of the bank, to launder the funds.

Okunnu, in her ruling, ordered the freezing of all bank accounts personally or jointly operated by Atuche.

Okunnu barred Atuche, his lawyer and other privies from withdrawing funds from the affected accounts and other accounts linked to the jailed bank boss.

The court also gave the concerned banks 48 hours to bring the statement of accounts of Atuche and the firms he used in looting the funds.

Atuche was in June sentenced to six years’ imprisonment after he was found guilty of stealing N25.7bn.

While jailing the ex-bank MD, the judge ordered him and his accomplice to return the money they stole.

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