The court trial of the former managing director of Bank PHB, Mr Francis Atuche took another dimension yesterday at the Lagos High Court, sitting in Ikeja when the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) made some revealing accusations.
The EFCC accused Mr Atuche of using depositors’ funds to pay N45 million in church tithes. Kemi Pinheiro, the lead prosecution counsel said he paid the money from an account of PHB Mortgage Limited.
According to Sahara Reporters, Pinheiro presented documents in court, some of them e-mails sent as an order to release the sum of N35million to St. Monica Catholic church, Ibusa, Delta State, and another sum of N10million to another St. Augustine Catholic Church. A key witness, Mr Solomon Abolaji Ogunsola, a former staff of PHB Mortgages Limited told the court that Mr Atuche sent the money to the two churches in Delta State because he hails from the state.
In addition, Mr Ogunsola admitted knowing two companies: Claremount Nigeria Limited and Claremount Asset Management. He said that Claremount Nigeria Limited had a call account with his bank and the account was owned by Mr Atuche.
Various transactions carried out by Atuche in his statements of account with Claremount Nigeria Limited and Claremount Asset Management Limited were read. Atuche had earlier denied having anything to do with the two companies.