The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, has filed an appeal case against the acquittal of former banker, Francis Atuche, his wife and Ugo Anyanwu earlier charged for defrauding BankPHB, where Atuche was a managing director. Atuche, his wife, Elizabeth, and Anyanwu, who was chief financial officer in the bank, were discharged for want of evidence. But, dissatisfied, the EFCC is asking the appeals court to order a re-trial before Justice Lateefa Okunni of the Lagos High Court. Presenting five appeal grounds, the EFCC contends that the Justice Lawal-Akapo, who acquitted the accused persons, erred. It said the matter can be tried in the state court and not only the federal court, which formed one of the bases for Atuche and others’ acquittal by Lawal-Akapo.
The EFCC also accused Lawal-Akapo of striking out the case when the accused did not plead for such. Added to this, the EFCC argues in the appeal that the accused pleaded separately to charges of stealing and illegal conversion of monies to their personal use, therefore querying the reason for striking all out without consideration to the pleas.
The anti-graft agency earlier prosecuted Atuche and the other accused of stealing a staggering N25.7 billion from the bank.