Many Sins of sacked Bank PHB MD Francis Atuche, the Untold Story

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It is no longer news that Bank PHB is one of the Commercial Banks fired during CBN's audit/reform exercise which focuses on Liquidity, Capital Adequacy and Corporate Governance; the outcome which subsequently identified the bank to be in precarious conditions, as a result of unprofessional conduct exhibited by the sacked Managing Director, Mr. Francis Atuche.

Making the situation worse and more irredeemable was the image laundry embarked upon by the MD in major Nigerian newspapers and broadcast media during and after the controversial acquisition of an ailing Spring Bank in tune of N62 billion; which Atuche's thought could be used to safe his face or better still to make for himself a soft landing, having displayed non proactive managerial capacity to drive the bank professionally. checks revealed that the bank had been in a big financial mess since 2008, contrary to all the rosy financial pictures painted before now, a seemingly disguise which did not reflect the financial realities of the bank. The information gathered by our source further captures the way Atuche frustrated a lot of big names like Akin Kekere Ekun out of the bank's Chairmanship board. Again what seems not to have helped this case was the involvement of the Yar'Adua family, which is believed to have vested interest in bank PHB.

Moreover, before he was ousted out unceremoniously, Atuche had a running battle with the board because the board had initially advised him to resign based on the gravity and enormity of allegations stacked against him, he refused. This was an attempt by the board to give Atuche soft landing via voluntary resignation but was rebuffed by him. This is because few hours to his sack the CBN was said to have offered the board of Bank PHB, a chance to replace Atuche with an Executive of their choice, but he refused to step down, thinking that since he sits at the top in a bank that has the Yar'Adua family's interest, he may survive the CBN's Tsunami. By the time he went around to beg all the key players in the bank and they could not save him, he knew he had to go, however tried all he could to resign but it was too late a time.

It was equally confirmed through checks that many of the bank staff members were not satisfied with the way Atuche ran the bank, running it as if it was his personal entity even as he engaged in the sack of some EDs who have contributed to the growth of the bank in their respective functions. The undeserving sack of one Mrs. Mary Akpobome who was forced to resign after a N10 billion loan that went bad in 2008 was another blunder said to have been committed by him. It was discovered that Mrs. Akpobome (wife to the famous comedian Ali Baba) infuriates many staff because she almost single handedly helped to recapitalize the bank a few years back when the bank need to inject in fresh funds. Similarly Emma Abugu was also a victim, he was in Port Harcourt before he was brought to Lagos, Emma actually resigned because of his refusal to sign the facility that led to the scandalous loan that eventually affected the fortunes of the bank.

The huge number of female staff employed into the bank during Atuche's tenure, many of who are reported to have perpetrated a lot off atrocities in the system was another ill-decision taken by former MD. Most of those female staffs were described as drain pipes in the bank. They wear diamonds, carry expensive designer bags to work and fly first class all over the world, and the result they often yield do not merit the bumper salaries they get. Also during his tenure the management failed to provide the apex bank accurate position of the bank's 'health' when the CBN auditors came to the bank.

Revelations have it that the biggest of Atuche's atrocities was the purchase of Bank PHB shares, which gave Platinum the edge over Habib Bank during the merger. This paper shares is what happened in Spring Bank take over deal too. There are indications that this anti bank activities is under investigations by CBN. Predictably, the way

Atuche ran Bank PHB resulted in low morale which led to a huge turnover of staff, which left for more secured offers. He was criticized for creating the atmosphere that frustrated out a lot of Habib staff, when platinum and Habib merged on account of allotment. The new leadership of the bank is said to be starting on a clean slate, as all the Executive Directors (ED) Ukpaka, Ahmed Kuru, Eddy Ugbogu and Julius Okotako have all been sacked. However one of the bank top shots loyal to Atuche who manages Bank PHB Mortgage a subsidiary of the bank recently resigned his appointment.

Our bank source also confirmed that before Francis Atuche finally left Bank PHB he went round to garner support from the Pakistanis who are big players in the bank but they could not salvage the situation for him. He also tried to meet the former President Atiku for help, but Atiku is already not pleased with could equally not help; owing to the way he schemed out his friend and associate Akin Kekere Ekun, the former Chairman of the board. Atiku sees him as an ingrate since Atiku was the one

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