The alleged N125 billion fraud trial of a convicted former Bank PHB Managing Director, Mr. Francis Atuche and his co-defendant Charles Ojo stalled Tuesday at the Federal High Court in Lagos.
The judge, Justice Ayokunle Faji, could not resume proceedings following the failure of the Nigerian Correctional Services to produce the duo.
He adjourned till February 22, 2022.
Atuche is serving a six-year jail term passed on him by Justice Lateefat Okunnu of an Ikeja High Court following his conviction for N25. 7 billion fraud.
He was convicted and sentenced on June 16, alongside Mr. Ugo Anyanwu, another bank chief.
Atuche and Ojo are in another trial before Justice Faji, on a 45-count charge of conspiracy and illegal and unlawful granting of billions of naira of loans to several companies, including Futureview Service Limited, Petosan Oil and Gas Limited, Tradjek Nigeria Limited and Extra Oil Limited.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) accused the duo of reckless granting of loans between 2006 and 2009 to Platinum Capital Limited, a company in which they both had an interest.
The loans were alleged to have been granted without adequate security, an act the EFCC said violated Section 516 of the Criminal Code, 2004.
They were also alleged to have conspired to grant several billion naira loans to Futureview Service Limited “without adequate security and contrary to accepted banking practice”.
The offences according to the prosecutor, Mr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN) were said to be contrary to Section 15(1)(a)(i) of the Failed Bank (Recovery of Debt) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act Cap F2, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria 2004, and liable to be punished under Section 16(1)(a) of the same Act.
Also allegedly granted loans without adequate security by the defendants were Petosan Oil and Gas Limited, Tradjek Nigeria Limited and Extra Oil Limited.
In one of the counts, both Atuche and Ojo were accused of failing to take all reasonable steps to ensure the correctness of the June 2009 Bank PHB monthly bank returns to the Central Bank of Nigeria.
They were also alleged to have on December 24, 2008, injected the sum of N650m into “Insurance PHB Limited,” contrary to Section 21(2)(a) of the Banks and other Financial Institutions Act Cap B3, Laws of the Federation of Nigeria.
The two former bank managing directors have pleaded not guilty to the charges.