Justice Lateefat Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja on Monday, told a former managing director of BankPHB Plc, now Keystone Bank Limited, Mr. Francis Atuche, his wife, Elizabeth and his associate, Mr. Ugo Anyanwu who are facing trial over a N27billion scam, that they have a case to answer and should be ready to open their defence.
According to Justice Okunnu, “a prima facie case has been established by the EFCC against the defendants and as a result, two applications before the court by the 1st, 2nd and 3rd defendants cannot succeed and are thereby over ruled and dismissed. The defendants are hereby called upon to open their case”.
Justice Okunnu further stressed that, ” a question we need to ask is, has enough been said to warrant an explanation from each of the defendants?” According to her, the 27-count charge against the defendants emphasized that they all fraudulently converted bank’s money for personal use.
She also said that: “the prosecution has enough evidence before me, about 12 witnesses have been called, and 272 exhibits have been presented before the court by the prosecution.” In addition, Okunnu declared that evidence have been presented by the prosecution that huge sums of money was stolen through former bank PHB and that all the stolen funds were diverted by the first defendant, Atuche for his personal use.
Justice Okunnu, after dismissing the two applications filed by the defendants, adjourned the case to, July 17; October, 2; 4; 23, 24 and 25, 2013.