Court Freezes N19bn Linked To Ex-Bank PHB MD, Francis Atuche
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Justice Lateefat Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja has ordered the freezing of N19,178, 253,050 belonging to convicted former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche.

Eye9ja learnt that the Judge gave the order following an ex parte application filed by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on August 17, 2021.

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The funds, investigation showed, were domiciled in 24 different banks in Nigeria.

EFCC counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) told the court that 15 persons and 22 firms were used by Atuche and his co-respondent, Ugo Anyanwu, a former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, to launder the funds.

He named Anthony Atuche, Emeka Patrick Atuche, Paul Okobi, Felix Oyiana, Moruf Kazeem Adisa, Olatunji Abiodun, Daniel Enebeli, Aina Olugbenga, Augustine Nwabueze.

The lawyer also mentioned Omonua Benedict, Oliver King Nduaaron, Chris Ike Ogbechie, Murat Bektaslar, Attah Omataikpo Olukemi and Thomas Etuh.

The firms are Aqua Harvest Limited, Hubmart Stores Limited, Hubmart Limited, Sapphire Capital Management Limited, Homeland Real Estate Company Limited, Malechi Foods Limited, Homeland Meridian Partners Limited.

Others include Promise Investment Limited, Temple Cottage Hotel Limited, Wegas Properties Project Limited, Buckhead Construction Limited, Claremount Management Services Limited, Afco Associates Limited, Platinum Capital Limited.

The rest: Ghazali Yakubu Investment Limited, The Financial (Services) Company Limited, Venture Resources Limited, Elizabeth-A Company Limited, Signature Partners Limited, Purplepay Technologies Limited, Oakwood Asset Management Limited and Conesto Nigeria Limited.

Justice Okunnu granted 12 prayers of the applicant and barred Atuche, whether by himself or other persons from removing, disposing of, dealing with or diminishing the value of assets.

The judge ordered the freezing of any bank account being operated by Atuche “personally or jointly, whether in his personal name or otherwise or with the Bank Verification Number (BVN) 22295357230 in any of the respondent banks to the tune of N19,178, 253, 050 billion”.

This is pursuant to the Restitution Order made by this Honourable Court on June 16, 2021.

Justice Okunnu also restrained the banks from honouring any such instruction from Atuche and his privies.

In June, the judge sentenced Atuche to six years imprisonment and Anyanwu four years for stealing and conspiracy to steal a total of N25.7billion.

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