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Atuche, Victim Of Sanusi’s Interest In Bank PHB – Utomi - Politics - Nairaland

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Atuche, Victim Of Sanusi’s Interest In Bank PHB – Utomi by dahmie2013: 9:56am On Jul 18, 2013
Professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi, on Wednesday told a Lagos High Court, Ikeja, that former Managing Director of Bank PHB, Mr. Francis Atuche, was being prosecuted out of the desperation of the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Mr. Lamido Sanusi, to take over the bank.

Utomi was testifying as the first defence witness in the N25.7bn theft charges instituted against Atuche, his wife, Elizabeth, and former Chief Financial Officer of the bank, Mr. Ugo Anyanwu.

The professor, who was a former director of the bank before it was taken over in 2009, described the trial as an “injustice”.

He said there had been a premeditated plan to “steal Bank PHB Plc by government officials” long before the CBN’s assessment in 2009, which adjudged the bank to be under distress.

Utomi said, “I was told that if Atuche was removed that it would be acceptable to CBN and that Bank PHB would be left intact.

“The person that told me is the current CBN Governor. He was a very good friend of mine until recently when these injustices were being carried out. I began to talk openly when the injustice was becoming glaring.”

Utomi, who was led in evidence by Atuche’s counsel, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), said the plot to get Atuche out of the way was so grave that petition on minor allegations of cheque kiting was being sent to the Presidency.

According to him, the desperation to take over the bank was confirmed in the book written by former presidential spokesman for the late President Umar Yar’adua, Mr. Segun Adeniyi.

The book was entitled, ‘Power, Politics and Death: Front-row account of Nigeria under the late President Yar’Adua’.

Utomi maintained that CBN claimed Bank PHB failed distress tests, which the bank was subjected to in quick succession within a short period of time.

The witness said before CBN adjudged Bank PHB as being under distress even when the Fixed Asset of the bank grew from N25bn in 2004 to N378bn and was going to trillions of naira in 2007.

The matter was adjourned till September 16 for Utomi to continue his testimony.

http://www.punchng.com/news/atuche-victim-of-sanusis-interest-in-bank-phb-utomi/

I'm disappointed @ his comments, such a well respected Economist saying all these! Too bad angry!
Re: Atuche, Victim Of Sanusi’s Interest In Bank PHB – Utomi by AkinDavid2: 12:18pm On Jul 18, 2013
dahmie2013: The professor, who was a former director of the bank before it was taken over in 2009, described the trial as an “injustice”.

He said there had been a premeditated plan to “steal Bank PHB Plc by government officials” long before the CBN’s assessment in 2009, which adjudged the bank to be under distress.

Utomi said, “I was told that if Atuche was removed that it would be acceptable to CBN and that Bank PHB would be left intact.

“The person that told me is the current CBN Governor. He was a very good friend of mine until recently when these injustices were being carried out. I began to talk openly when the injustice was becoming glaring.”

Utomi, who was led in evidence by Atuche’s counsel, Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), said the plot to get Atuche out of the way was so grave that petition on minor allegations of cheque kiting was being sent to the Presidency.



I'm disappointed @ his comments, such a well respected Economist saying all these! Too bad angry!


So you think he is lying

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Re: Atuche, Victim Of Sanusi’s Interest In Bank PHB – Utomi by Awake9ja(m): 3:08pm On Jul 18, 2013
the sins of SLS will be more open next year or when he is out of cbn seat of power.
Re: Atuche, Victim Of Sanusi’s Interest In Bank PHB – Utomi by Nobody: 4:25pm On Jul 18, 2013
While I can understand the need to provide some support for a friend in time of need, I fail to see how Prof Utomi arrived at his conclusions. If there is any basis for disquiet, it surely ought to be aligned with the interest of depositors as well as members of the banking public, who were left unduly exposed by Atuche's poor judgement calls.

I spoke to the ADC a few minutes after he had brought the SMS to the attention of the president, whom he said expressed anger at the AGF over his alleged action. The president directed the ADC to get in touch immediately with the solicitor general of the federation to help CBN with the necessary assistance if the AGF was unwilling to facilitate the prosecution.

When this eventually got to the attention of Aondoakaa, he knew he had bitten off more than he could chew and quickly retraced his steps. The president also spoke on the phone with Sanusi to assure him of his full support and said that if he needed any assistance, he could always reach him through the ADC. Within a period of four weeks, a whopping
sum of N110.8 billion had been recovered.

The AGF was, however, not acting alone; the forces that Sanusi was fighting, a nebulous group called ‘Corporate Nigeria’, had been involved in the campaign that had brought Yar’Adua to power. Though the former director general of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE), Dr. Ndi Okereke-Onyuike, served as the arrowhead of the group, most of the funds used for the election had been contributed by bankers. Since this group included the prime financiers of the election that had brought Yar’Adua to power, it was understandable that the bankers whose hands were caught in the cookie jar would seek
protection in their hour of need.

By the time the president came back from Saudi Arabia, report on the second batch, comprising 15 banks, was ready. And Bank PHB, where the president’s family has considerable interest, was among those to be affected. Mr. Francis Atuche, the CEO, happened to be very close to some associates of the president, but that was not the card they would use in selling their anti-CBN reform agenda; the argument would be that Yar’Adua could not preside over the liquidation of the bank in which his family had considerable interest!

What these do-gooders did not reckon with, however, was that the president had some inside knowledge about some of the issues within Bank PHB and could not have been shocked by CBN’s findings. An incident a few weeks earlier validates this position: on the way back to the residence from the office, the ADC had hinted to the president that Atuche wanted to see him. In a changed mood, the president asked the ADC, “Is he your friend? If he is your friend, you better warn him. Murtala (Yar’Adua) has told me of how the guy is messing up the bank, giving out unsecured loans left, right, and center.

In fact, let him come, I want to see him.” Sanusi took action on the remaining five banks that fell short of the required minimum capital: Bank PHB, Equitorial Trust Bank, Unity Bank, Spring Bank, and Wema Bank. But shortly after the president returned from Saudi Arabia, Sanusi met and intimated him that he had no faith in Aondoakaa and that if the AGF handled the prosecution, the cases could be compromised. He therefore asked the president to direct the AGF to give the
lawyers whom CBN would be appointing the fiat to prosecute on behalf of the EFCC.

The president gave the directive, which Aondoakaa had no choice but to obey, and with that, Sanusi brought in Konyin Ajayi, Kola Awodein and A. B. Mahmoud to prosecute the affected bankers.

In retrospect, I understand the enormous pressure the president endured on the bank issue, and this pressure came from several quarters, especially given that promoters of some of the affected banks contributed huge funds to the campaign that had brought him to power—which in itself was an abuse of their role. But the president believed the CBN governor had a responsibility to protect the interest of depositors in the affected banks and therefore gave Sanusi all the support he needed.Incidentally, Sanusi was in fact one of the last public officials to see Yar’Adua in his last
week in office before he left for Saudi Arabia on November 23, 2009, and the CBN governor recounted the conversation to me after the meeting as I escorted him to his car.

He said that when he had shown the president the list of the assets owned by one particular bank CEO, the president had said, “Are these not the same people attacking you in the media that you have an agenda? Why don’t you publish the list of their assets for the world to see? You owe it to yourself and the country for people to see what these people were doing with depositors’ funds.”

Sanusi heeded the advice and caused to be published in newspapers the list of the assets owned by some of the bankers. Looking back, I have no doubt that the special examination conducted by CBN assisted in unveiling the problems in some of the banks, and Sanusi’s action to save and strengthen the affected banks was proactive and helped in averting what could have been a major systemic crisis. The president understood this and gave his unwavering support.

Source: Adeniyi, O., Books, P., & Kachifo. (2011). Power, Politics and Death. Prestige.

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