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Court Sentences Former Bank PHB Boss, Francis Atuche To Over 6 Years In Prison




A Lagos High Court sitting in the Ikeja area has sentenced former managing director of defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche to over 6 years in prison.

In a judgment that lasted over 10 hours, Justice Lateefat Okunnu convicted Atuche alongside a former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Ugo Anyanwu.

The two were convicted on at least 6 of a 27-count amended charge of conspiracy to commit a felony and stealing brought against them by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).

While Atuche who was found guilty on counts 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, and 23 of the charge would serve a 6-year term for each count,  Anyanwu will serve a 4-year jail term for counts 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11, 22 and 24 of the amended charge.

They are to serve their jail term consecutively. This sentence is coming after a trial that lasted over 12 years.

In delivering her sentence, Justice Okunnu held that the EFCC successfully proved its case against the convicts beyond a reasonable doubt.

The judge rejected claims by the defendants suggesting that they were merely professionally negligent.

She 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 came to the conclusion that the convicts corruptly took advantage of their positions to confer on themselves undue financial benefits without regard to the health of the bank.

“The convict stole from the bank and depositors and because of their action, taxpayers money was used to bail out the bank”.

Justice Okunnu held that she had considered the plea of the convicts, but there must be consequences for wrongdoing, adding that sentences are not just for punishment but also for deterrence.

She also ruled that the defendant should make restitution of the amount stolen from the bank. They are to pay back the sum of N25.7billion to the Federal government to replace the funds stolen from the public to bail out the bank.

According to the Judge, they are to serve their jail terms at the Kirikiri maximum correctional facility in Lagos.

Atuche’s wife cleared
Justice Okunnu however, cleared Atuche’s wife on the charge of conspiracy and stealing.

According to the judge, the EFCC failed to link her to the crime and insisted that suspicion no matter how strong can not take the place of fact.

The judge held that it was not proven that she was aware of the source of the funds she received into her account from her husband and she had no powers to take any decision to influence the transaction.

The EFCC had alleged that between November 2007 and April 2008, the accused persons stole about N25.7bn belonging to the bank.

The anti-graft agency had also claimed that of the total N25.7bn, they stole about N14.7bn by fraudulently describing it as a loan to some companies and subsequently converted the said sum to personal use.

The Commission had listed the companies as Future View Securities, Extra Oil Limited, Resolution Trust and Investment Limited, and Tradjek Nigeria Ltd.

The EFCC also alleged that another N11bn stolen by the defendants was used to purchase about 984,375,000 units of Bank PHB shares for themselves.

According to the commission, the sum used for purchasing the shares was described as a loan to some companies including, Guesstrade Services, Sentron Trading, Montrax Investico, Claremount Management Ltd., Trenton Trade, and others.

In proof of its case against the accused persons, the EFCC called 12 witnesses who gave oral evidence. It also subpoenaed 6 others to present some documents which were admitted as exhibits by the court.



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Police nab two kidnap suspect in Delta



Nigeria Police Force
Nigeria Police Force

Police in Delta have arrested two kidnap suspects at Udu Local Government Area of the state.
Police spokesman, DSP Bright Edafe told newsmen in Warri (Delta) on Sunday that the suspects were nabbed by a police decoy squad following credible and intelligence-led investigation.

“Operatives of the decoy squad embarked on a sting operation on May 11 and arrested one Emmanuel James suspected to be the leader of the gang.

“On May 12, the suspect led the operatives to Ejewu community in Udu Local Government Area of the state where the gang’s driver, Ejiro Peter was arrested.

“They confessed their involvement in series of armed robbery and kidnapping in Ughelli and Warri and the April 27 kidnap of Mr and Mrs Okutonye Efetobore at Ughellli town.“They also confessed to have collected a N1 million before releasing the couple,’’ he said.

Edafe said the suspects led police operatives to another notorious member of the Egbike Community in Udu Local Government Area on May 12.

Upon sighting police operatives, the third suspect engaged them in a gun duel and in the process escaped through the ceiling of his roof with bullet wounds, he said.

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Farmer commits suicide after attacking wife over infidelity



Suicide image
Suicide image

A farmer, Friday Omosigho, has committed suicide after attacking his wife, Mercy Omosigho, over alleged infidelity in Ehiozevbaru, Uhunmwode Local Government Area of Edo State.

It was gathered that the farmer attacked his wife with a machete after accusing her of having affairs with other men in the village.

Omosigho was also said to have stabbed his wife on the farm and abandoned her in a pool of blood.

It was further learned that the farmer, who called his younger brother, Monday Omosigho, and told him that he had stabbed his wife, went back home and drank rat poison.

Confirming the incident on Sunday, the Edo State Police Public Relations Officer, Chidi Nwabuzor, disclosed the man drank a substance suspected to be Sniper.

Nwabuzor said the Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Egba Police Division received a call from one Monday Omosigho that he received a distress call that his senior brother, Friday Omosigho, committed suicide by drinking Sniper, after attacking his wife with a machete over infidelity.

He revealed that the police operatives moved to the scene and took the woman to the hospital.

The police spokesperson added that the woman, who is still alive, has since been receiving treatment in the hospital.

Nwabuzor said an investigation into the incident has commenced, adding that the case has been transferred to the homicide department of the Edo State Police Command.





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Africa News

KOGI EXPLOTION: DSS Apprehends ISWAP Commander Behind Attacks.




The Department of State Services (DSS) has arrested the mastermind of the Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) attack which occurred on 29th December, 2022, near the Palace of the Ohinoyi of Ebiraland in Okene, Kogi State during the visit of the President to commission some projects in the state.

A statement from the Public Relations Officer of the Service Peter Afunnaya, says, Men of the DSS arrested Abdulmumin Ibrahim OTARU (aka Abu Mikdad) and one of his associates, Saidu SULEIMAN on 3rd January, 2023.

The statement says OTARU sustained a gunshot injury on his left foot while attempting to escape and currently receiving treatment at a health facility.

the statement says, during investigations, it was ascertained that OTARU is a high commander of Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) who either coordinated or was involved in so many terrorist operations. which includes The 24th June, 2022 attack on Nigeria Police Area Command, Eika-Ohizenyi, Okehi LGA of Kogi State where a Police Inspector, Idris MUSA was killed and two (2) AK-47 rifles carted away, The 5th July, 2022 attack on Kuje Medium Security Custodial Centre in Kuje Area Council of the FCT; and 5th August, 2022 attack on West African Ceramics Ltd (WACL) in Ajaokuta LGA, Kogi in which three (3) Indian expatriates were kidnapped which resulted in the killing of (5) persons including one (1) Indian, two (2) Policemen and two (2) drivers of the company before the kidnapped expatriates were later released on 31st August, 2022.

The statement added that OTARU operated terrorist cells in and around Kogi State where he and his gang had staged several kidnap operations in Kogi and Ondo States.

Meanwhile, the suspects are in custody and will be prosecuted accordingly.

” The Service reiterates its commitment to the safety of the nation. It assures to work assiduously with stakeholders including sister security agencies to tackle the menace of terrorism and other forms of criminality and threats to national security. It, therefore, calls on citizens to support it and other law enforcement organisations with relevant information and all the necessary cooperation required to achieve a peaceful country.” Afunanya said

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