The Centre for Anti-Corruption and Open Leadership, CACOL, has commended the Ikeja division of the Lagos high court over its landmark ruling on the corruption case involving former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB, Francis Atuche. It gave the commendation in a release made available to newsmen in Lagos on Thursday.
According to the release issued by its director of administration and programmes, Tola Oresanwo, on behalf of its chairman, Debo Adeniran, CACOL noted that the commendation became imperative in view of an urgent need to encourage judicial officer to stand on the side of Justice now that the country is in dire need of brave anti-corruption crusaders in the judiciary. CACOL added that judicial officers need encouragement to help the country get rid of corruption and its tendencies among individuals and groups. This can be achieved, according to CACOL, when brave anti-corruption crusaders in the judiciary are encouraged to help stem the tide particularly considering its negative effects on investment.
“Corruption in the corporate sphere is as fatal, calamitous and disastrous as that of the public sector. It discourages investments and contributes to the collapse of the economy. This is why we hail the decision of the judge, Justice Lateefa Okunnu, to sentence the accused after taking into consideration the enormous amount involved in the humongous heist perpetrated by the accused.
We have always opined that culprits of official corruption need to be deprived of their evil accumulations wherever and whenever they are found out and made to face the consequence of their acts as just deserts”.
Atuche and his co-defendants were arraigned in 2011 by the EFCC over allegations of stealing and conspiracy to steal. However, the case dragged as they went on appeal insisting that the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear it. The appeal was granted prompting the prosecution to seek the intervention of the Supreme Court. In the end, the apex court ruled that the case be taken back to the trial court as it has the jurisdiction to entertain same. Having considered the case, the court gave Atuche to a 12-year jail sentence and another 10 years to his co-defendant, Ugo Anyanwu.
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