Atuche, Ojo Money Laundering Trial Resumes Feb. 27

A Federal High Court in Lagos on Thursday fixed Feb. 27 for continuation of trial of Francis Atuche and Charles Ojo, charged with N125 billion fraud.
Atuche, a former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB, is standing trial alongside Ojo, a former Managing Director of defunct Spring Bank Plc, on an amended 45-count charge of fraud.
Justice Saliu Saidu adjourned the case following an application for adjournment by defence counsel, Mr Osahon Idemudia, who sought for time to have a pre-trial conference with his client.
The prosecution did not oppose the application for adjournment and the judge adjourned the case to Feb. 27.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the accused were re-arraigned before Justice Saidu on Feb. 20, 2014, on the amended charge.
They both pleaded not guilty to the charge and Justice Saidu had allowed the accused to continue with the earlier bail granted by previous judges.
The accused were first arraigned in 2009 before Justice Akinjide Ajakaiye.
Ajakaiye 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 Feb. 3, 2012, and subsequently, before Justice Rita Ofili-Ajumogobia on Jan. 16, 2013.
Both judges had adopted the bail terms earlier granted by Ajakaiye.
In the charge, the accused were alleged to have granted credit facilities, manipulated shares and committed general banking fraud to the tune of over N125 billion.
The offence, the charge said, contravened the provisions of Section 7(2) (b) of the Advanced Fee Fraud Act, 2004 and Section 15(1) of the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act, 2004.
Also, the offence contravenes the provisions of Section 516 of the Criminal Code Act, Cap C38, Laws of the Federation, 2004 as well as section 14 (1) of the Money Laundering Prohibition Act, 2004.


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