The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Friday disclosed that Pat Utomi, the first defense witness in the trial of a former managing director of BankPHB, now Keystone Bank, Francis Atuche and two others, took loan facilities to the tune of N59million at different times from the bank during his tenure as the vice chairman of the bank.
The disclosure came while Utomi was being cross-examined by the EFCC counsel, Kemi Pinheiro, SAN, before Justice Lateefa Okunnu of a Lagos High Court sitting in Ikeja Presenting the documents before the court, Pinheiro said Utomi took facilities worth N59 million naira from the bank during the tenure of Atuche.
Pinheiro noted that the facilities granted to Utomi and many others were not disclosed at the time the board of directors of the bank was ratifying facilities granted by the bank.
“I suggest to you that the application for these loans predated the meeting. The reason why you did not pose opposition to the ratification of those huge loans was because of the various huge facilities taken by you. You did not voice opposition to the grant of over one hundred billion naira facilities presented to you for ratification. It is the practice in every minutes that the purpose of facilities granted are stated in the minutes, but the minute of the Board of Directors meeting of July 9, 2008 was an exemption”, Pinheiro put to Utomi under cross examination.
Analysing how the loan was given, Pinheiro said a N40 million facility was granted to the witness on July 3, 2008, and another draft of ten million naira was also raised on September 23, 2008 in favour of the witness.
He added that Utomi, through a company, UR Maintenance Limited, took another facility of N5 million.
It was also disclosed that a relative of the witness, Emmanuel Utomi, received a cheque of four million naira allegedly on his behalf from Clairemount Management Services, a company in which Atuche is alleged to be the sole signatory.
Pinheiro also declared that other board members took various loan facilities from the bank.
According to him, Mike Ajoku, a kinsman of Utomi from Ibusa in Delta state was granted a N428 million loan facility.
Fidelis Idita, also a kinsman of Utomi from the same community, took a loan facility from the bank.
It was also alleged by the prosecution that one Consolidated Business Support Services got a facility of N1 billion. The company is allegedly linked to one Ifeyinwa Osime, also a member of the bank’s board.
Pinheiro posited that these facilities were not listed when the CBN called for a list of debtors was because the board members were beneficiaries of the questionable facilities.
He noted that Utomi, at some point, contradicted his earlier claims that the bank’s credit officer presented the list of all companies to the board for ratification when he couldn’t recall if the chief credit officer was male or female.
“On the day over one hundred and twenty billion naira was allegedly ratified by the Board of Directors, you could not recall whether the chief credit officer who was alleged to have made the presentation before the Board was male or female.” said Pinheiro.
The case was adjourned to October 3, 4, 23, 24, 25; November 18 and December 3 and 4, 2013 for continuation of trial.