Court Approves Atuche’s Oversea's Medical Trip

Court Approves Atuche’s Oversea's Medical Trip

Justice Adeniyi Onigbanjo of an Ikeja High Court on Monday granted permission to former Managing Director of Bank PHB (Keystone Bank), Francis Atuche, to travel to the United Kingdom for medical treatment.


Onigbanjo gave the order while ruling on an application filed by Atuche’s counsel, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN).


Idigbe had in his application on July 5 sought the leave of the court to allow Atuche to travel outside Nigeria for medical attention from July 17 to Sept. 7 in the UK.


The application was, however, not opposed by EFCC prosecutor, Mr Kemi Pinheiro (SAN).


The judge, therefore, ordered the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to release Atuche’s travel documents in its custody, to enable him to embark on the trip.


He ordered Atuche to return the documents to the EFCC within 48 hours of his return to Nigeria on or before Sept. 7.


Atuche and Funmi Ademosun, also a former director of the bank, were charged to court for allegedly stealing N4.2 billion belonging to Caverton Helicopters Ltd in Sept. 2007.


At the continuation of the trial on Monday, Idigbe, who was cross-examining an EFCC operative, Miss Ngunah Kakwagh, again denied the charge preferred against the accused persons.


Idigbe faulted Kakwagh’s claims that the former bank chiefs sold 241 million units of Afribank shares belonging to Caverton Helicopters without authorisation.


He maintained that the shares were actually bought in Bank PHB’s name and belonged to the bank when they were sold by the accused persons.


However, his attempt to tender the title documents of the shares as exhibits was opposed by Pinheiro, who argued that it was inadmissible under the Evidence Act 2011.


The case has been adjourned to Tuesday for ruling on the admissibility of the document and continuation of trial.


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