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Court adjourns trial of Atuche, Ojo to March 22, 2016


court.jpg-citynewsEFCC arraigns three for alleged N86m fraud, invites Tompolo
JUSTICE Saliu Saidu of the Federal High Court, Lagos yesterday said he would commence the trial of former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche on March 22, 2016.

Atuche alongside a former Managing Director of defunct Spring Bank Plc, Charles Ojo , is standing trial on an amended 45-count charge of N125 billion fraud.

Meanwhile, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Thursday arraigned the trio of Uchenna-Dike Ogbonnaya, Uchenna-Dike Ugomma and Ukeni Ugah Adanne before Justice U. N. Agomoh of the Federal High Court, sitting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on a 17-count charge bordering on conspiracy, stealing, money laundering and obtaining money by false pretence to the tune of N87 million.

The EFCC has also has given former Niger Delta militant , Mr. Government Ekpemupolo a.k.a Tompolo one-week to make himself available at its Lagos office on Awolowo Road, Ikoyi, Lagos on Thursday, December 17, 2015 or risk being declared wanted.

It was gathered that the Head of Operations at the EFCC, Iliasu Kwabai extended the invitation to Tompolo in November which he failed to honour and no correspondence was received from him.

Attempt by The Guardian to reach the spokesman of EFCC, Wilson Uwujare on telephone proved abortive as he failed to take his calls.

When Atuche’s case was called on Thursday, Mr Kemi Pinhero (SAN) announced appearance for the prosecution while Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) announced for the first accused while Mr Victor Obaro announced appearance for the second accused.

The prosecution thereafter, applied for a date for trial following which the judge subsequently fixed March 22 and 23, 2016. on February 20, 2014, before Justice Saidu, following a re-assignment of the case.

They were first arraigned in 2009 before Justice Akinjide Ajakaiye who had granted them bail in the sum of N50 million each with two sureties each in like sum.

They were later re-arraigned before Justice Binta Murtala-Nyako on February 3, 2012, and subsequently, before Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia on January 16, 2013.

The three suspects were arrested following a petition written by Ecobank alleging that the second defendant who was a staff the bank, alongside her husband , the first defendant took advantage of a system glitch to steal a combined sum of N86, 941,500 from 15 different Ecobank accounts without corresponding debits from initiating banks.
The third defendant is the mother of the second defendant who, allegedly, knowing full well about the fraud received N194,500 through her Ecobank account number 0361048870.

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