Empowered accordingly by a federal high court sitting in Ikoyi, Lagos, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) has seized over N50 billion, 18 companies and 15 houses from the sacked Group Managing Director of Bank PHB, Mr. Francis Atuche.
Atuche was sacked along with heads of other nine banks by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in the wake of the discovery of alleged fraud in the banking sector running into one trillion naira.
Seventeen bank accounts belonging to him were also frozen.In one of the accounts domiciled with the bank, N25.95 billion cash was said to have been found.
The commission will also this morning commence the sealing off of all the houses traced to him. Commission’s spokesperson, Mr. Femi Babafemi, confirmed the commencement of the exercise.
The commission had attached all the property traced to Atuche, who is standing trial for his alleged role in crippling the bank, to the Notice of Attachment placed before the trial judge, Justice A.O Ajakaye, who issued the order of temporary forfeiture on March 1, 2010.
Apart from the cash found in his bank account, Atuche also reportedly invested N1.5 billion in Honeywell Flour Mills Plc, N305,889,418 million in Arik Ltd and 500 million units of shares in Afribank Plc.
The houses traced to him are in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Surulere, VGC Lekki, Ibusa, Delta State, Asokoro, Abuja, with a sole property at 59, Avenue Close, Avenue Road, St. John’s Wood, London.
Some of the companies listed as alleged fronts in siphoning depositors’ funds included, Guesstrade Services; Sentron Trading; Montra and Investico; Claremount Asset Management Limited; Arabian Probity Management; Clareville Trading and Service Limited; Commerical Trading and Services Limited; Afco Associates Limited; Trenton Trade Limited and Consolidated Business Support Limited.
He was also said to have used 15 fronts, including his wife, children and relatives. The names listed in the court order included Elizabeth Atuche; Grace Atuche; Victor Udeh; Michael Atuche; Anthony Grace; Joseph Atuche; Nkeolisakwu Atuche; Mrs. Mariam Okonmah; Patrick Atuche and Kemi Ojelabi.
Some of the frozen accounts are SA-400221000004, 2190001272, 1160000011, PNA 0010184100002 and CA 001040100000, all domiciled in Bank PHB as well as A/C Nos; 10100061705 and CA 001020102315 belonging to Elizabeth Atuche.
Some of the houses are 2b Falomo Close, Ikoyi; 21 Kingsway Road, Ikoyi (hotel known as Clonades), 41B Anifowoshe Street, V.I, 11 Raymond Njoku Street, Ikoyi, 2000M 2 Plots of land at Ibusa, Delta State, 46 Mamman Nasir Street, off T.Y Danjuma, Asokoro, Abuja, among others