N25.7bn fraud: Appeal Court affirms conviction of ex-Bank PHB MD, Atuche, others
A three-man panel of the Court of Appeal, Lagos Division, on Thursday, June 23, 2022, upheld the conviction of a former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB Plc, Francis Atuche, as well as the bank’s former Chief Financial Officer, Ugo Anyanwu.
Atuche and his co-convict, Anyanwu, had approached the appellate court to set aside their conviction by Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court sitting in Ikeja, Lagos on June 16, 2021, over a N25.7 billion fraud.
The panel, comprising Justices Sadiq Umar, Adebukola Banjoko and Kayode Bada, while resolving all the issues in the appeal in favour of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC) except the sentencing, also clarified that Atuche’s jail term was 12 years concurrently, rather than 120 years, handed down by the lower court, if calculated consecutively.
Also, the panel reduced Anyanwu’s jail term from 10 years to eight years and affirmed the discharge and acquittal of Atuche’s wife, Elizabeth.
In an abridged ruling read by Justice Umar, the three-man panel upheld the EFCC’s arguments and unanimously dismissed the appeal.
It would be recalled that, in 2021, Justice Okunnu, while sentencing Atuche and Anyanwu, had upheld the arguments of the prosecution counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN.
Lagos princess congratulates Tinubu, Sanwo-Olu
Kosoko said that the MCP, which has gotten the backing of the government, would give support and connect not less than 5000 Nigerian graduates with the right employers in the industry who can engage them in non-technical aspects of shipping.
She noted that women will be given an adequate percentage under MCP, stating that the MCP is not creating jobs but providing a fertile ground for the transfer of knowledge from old Nigerians in the industry to young ones.
Ekweremadu, wife may go to jail as London court finds them guilty of organ tafficking
A former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu; his wife Beatrice; and their doctor, Obinna Obeta have been found guilty of organ trafficking in the first verdict of its kind under the Modern Slavery Act.
Ekweremadu, 60; his wife, Beatrice, 56; and Obeta, 51; were found guilty of facilitating the travel of a young man to Britain with a view to his exploitation after a six-week trial at the Old Bailey.
They allegedly criminally conspired to bring the 21-year-old Lagos street trader to London to exploit him for his kidney, the jury found, according to UK Guardian.
Ekweremadu and his wife were charged in the United Kingdom after they allegedly lured a young man from Nigeria to harvest his organ for their ailing daughter, Sonia.
The lawmaker was last year arrested and had been in the custody of UK authorities after they received complaints from the young man about their alleged plans to harvest his organ.
The prosecutor, Hugh Davies KC, told the court on Thursday the Ekweremadus and Obeta had treated the man and other potential donors as “disposable assets – spare parts for reward”.
He said they entered an “emotionally cold commercial transaction” with the man.
The behaviour of Ekweremadu, a successful lawyer and founder of an anti-poverty charity who helped draw up Nigeria’s laws against organ trafficking, showed “entitlement, dishonesty and hypocrisy”, Davies told the jury.
He said Ekweremadu, who owns several properties and had a staff of 80, “agreed to reward someone for a kidney for his daughter – somebody in circumstances of poverty and from whom he distanced himself and made no inquiries, and with whom, for his own political protection, he wanted no direct contact”.
Davies added, “What he agreed to do was not simply expedient in the clinical interests of his daughter, Sonia, it was exploitation, it was criminal.
“It is no defence to say he acted out of love for his daughter. Her clinical needs cannot come at the expense of the exploitation of somebody in poverty.”
Ekweremadu, who denied the charge, told the court he was the victim of a scam.
Beatrice denied any knowledge of the alleged conspiracy. Sonia did not give evidence.
The judge, Mr Justice Jeremy Johnson, will pass sentence at a later date.
EFCC arraigns bank manager, two others for N55m fraud in Makurdi
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, (EFCC,) on Tuesday, March 21, 2023, arraigned one Kichime Gomwalk, a branch manager of First City Monument Bank, (FCMB,) Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited before Justice P. S. Gang of the Plateau State High Court Jos, on a five-count charge bordering on stealing, cheating and obtaining by false pretense to the tune of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) fraud.
Kichime Gomwalk, while serving as branch Manager, FCMB Plc, Murtala Mohammed Way Jos, in Plateau State is alleged to have forged COCIN GRATUITY CERTIFICATE OF PLEDGE/LETTER OF SET-OFF dated 30th DECEMBER, 2019, purportedly co-signed by Mrs. Monica Bitrus Tang and Rev (Dr.) Amos Musa Mohzo, Directors, which he used to secure an overdraft facility from FCMB Plc to the tune of N55, 000.000.00 (Fifty-Five Million Naira) with COCIN Gratuity account N0. 100GOMWALK379 domiciled with FCMB Plc
Count one of the charges reads, “That you, Kichime Gomwalk, Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and you Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited, sometime in December 2019 at Jos, in Plateau State within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court did conspire among yourselves to commit an unlawful act to with without Lawful authority engaged in the acquisition of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) overdraft credit facility from FCMB Plc and thereby committed an offense of conspiracy contrary to section 59 (1) of the Plateau State Penal Code Law, (20017) and punishable under Section 59 (2) of the same Law”.
Count two reads, “That you, Kichime Gomwalk, Michael Damkas Buayam of Tan Global Energy Limited, and you Abbas Andrew Dayilim of Castlegate International Limited, sometime in December 2019 in Plateau State within the jurisdiction of this Honorable Court fraudulently used LETTER OF CONSENT to engage in the acquisition of N55,000.000.00 (Fifty Five Million Naira) overdraft credit facility from FCMB Plc knowing that at the time of acquisition of the said money, it was derived from the unlawful activity and thereby committed an offence contrary to section 18 (a) of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Establishment Act) 2004, and Punishable under section 18 (2) of the same Act”.
The defendants pleaded ‘not guilty’ when the charge was read to them.
The judge adjourned the case till May 18, 2023, and ordered the remand of the defendants at the Jos Correctional Center pending the hearing of their bail applications.
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