Atuche : Witness Denies Company’s Request for Loan from Bank PHB

A principal prosecution witness recalled by a Lagos High Court sitting Ikeja, the on-going trial of former managing director of Bank PHB, Francis Atuche, on Monday, March 4, 2013, disowned a resolution of Future View Securities Limited’s board purportedly presented as evidence of a request for a loan from the defunct Bank PHB (now Keystone Bank). The witness, Mrs. Elizabeth Ebi, explained to the court that her company, Future View Securities Limited never passed a resolution requesting a loan from the defunct bank.

Under cross- by counsel to the first defendant, Tayo Oyetibo, SAN, Ebi told the court that the purported resolutions did not emanate from any of the companies so claimed by the defendants. “This is not Future View Securities Limited letter head paper, there is no RC number on that paper. Our resolutions states company’s directors and designation and I don’ see it here; the address and at the bottom is not our e-mail address and not our web address. Besides, we don’ make general resolution, our resolutions have specifics and this resolution is not targeted at a specific matter. No resolution was signed by Future View Securities Limited to Bank PHB for any loan”, she pointed out.

Mrs. Ebi also told the court that the dates on the purported resolutions indicated that the documents were signed days after she made her statement at the EFCC office and also added “the documents were signed 25 January, 2008, which is much later than the purported loan date which was early January, 2008”.

Ebi’s denial came the wake of a subpoena, seeking clarifications on the claims that board resolutions of three companies indicated interests a loan from Bank PHB. The companies are: Future View Securities Limited; Extra Oil Limited and Limited.

Mr. Samuel Ekanem, Acting Chief compliant officer of the Keystone Bank, presented three documents to the court, which the defence counsel told the court were board resolutions of Future View Securities Limited; Extra Oil Limited ; Limited , and tendered same as exhibits the court. The court admitted the three documents as exhibits.

It would be recalled that during the last sitting of the court on January 28, 2013, the defence made an application for the recall of principal witnesses, which the court granted and the witnesses were recalled. The recalled witness: Mr. Diamond Uju and Mrs. Elizabeth Ngozi Ebi were again cross-examined on issues relating to the exhibits.  Uju and Ebi both denied appending signatures on the documents tendered as exhibits. On the score of this, Oyetibo immediately made an application to the court for Uju to sign three times on a sheet of paper, while Ebi was made to sign four times on a sheet of paper, which the defence tendered and the court admitted same as exhibit.

The submissions of Uju and Ebi eventually led to the closure of the prosecution case the defence sued for more time to make a formal application for a no -case submission for the third defendant, Mr. Ugo Anyanwu. Justice Okunnu adjourned proceedings till April 7, 2013 which allowed for both the defence and prosecution to file all applications and make responses respectively.

Atuche and others are standing trial over a N25billion theft case instituted against them by the EFCC. The other defendants the case are:  Elizabeth Atuche and Ugo Anyanwu.


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