EFCC appeals Atuche’s acquittal

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Henry Ojelu
Francis Atuche in company of EFCC officials
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has appealed against the judgement of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja which discharged a former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche of the N25.7 billion theft charge preferred against him.
Also discharged of the theft charge were his wife, Elizabeth and a former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Ugo Anyanwu.
The trial judge, Justice Lateef Lawal-Akapo while delivering judgement in the matter June 22, 2015 had upheld the submissions of the defence team including Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN) and Sylvia Ogwemoh (SAN) that the court lacked jurisdiction to entertain the suit and thatthe prosecution’s case lacked merit.
“I find no merit in the prosecution’s application, it is hereby dismissed. The defendants application dated November 27, 2013 succeeds and I hereby make the following orders:
“The criminal charge in this suit is hereby struck out and the accused persons namely; Francis Atuche, Elizabeth Atuche and Ugo Anyawu are discharged. The complainant’s notice of plenary objection dated December 3, 2013 is hereby dismissed”, Justice Lawal-Akapo had declared.
But the EFCC in its appeal filed by its counsel, Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), is now seeking an order of the Court of Appeal setting aside the order of Justice Lawal-Akapo striking out the counts contained in the amended information dated June 1, 2011.
Other reliefs sought by the EFCC include an order allowing its appeal and an order directing a continuation of trial and defence before Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the High Court of Lagos State sitting in Ikeja.
The EFCC which based its appeal on five grounds told the court that the learned trial judge erred in law by proceeding to strike out the entirety of the amended information when by the unambiguous and plain provisions …Read More

Source:: PM Newspaper