Supreme Court upholds conviction of former MD of Bank PHB, FRANCIS ATUCHE,

Friday, June 28, 2024 
-After a long legal battle spanning approximately 13 years, the Supreme Court of Nigeria has upheld the conviction of Francis Atuche, the former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB Plc.

The court’s decision was delivered by Justice Moore Adumein, confirming the rulings of both the trial court and the Court of Appeal.

The Supreme Court emphasised that Francis Atuche did not provide sufficient grounds to challenge the findings of the lower courts regarding his credibility.

 The court reiterated its stance that an appellate court should not interfere with a trial court’s decision on the demeanour of a party or witness if it is supported by documentary evidence.

 Atuche, along with his wife, Elizabeth, and Ugo Anyanwu, was arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2011 on a 27-count charge related to a N25.7 billion fraud.

The prosecution, led by Dr Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), resulted in the conviction of Atuche and Anyanwu by Justice Lateefat Okunnu of the Lagos High Court on June 16, 2021.

They were found guilty on 21 of the 27 counts of conspiracy to commit felony and stealing, and sentenced to 12 years and 10 years in prison, respectively.

The Court of Appeal later reduced Atuche’s sentence to six years and Anyanwu’s to eight years while upholding the acquittal of Atuche’s wife, Elizabeth, due to insufficient evidence linking her to the crime.

Dissatisfied with the appellate court’s decision, Atuche and Anyanwu appealed to the Supreme Court.

Earlier this year, the apex court heard arguments from prominent Senior Advocates of Nigeria, including Wole Olanipekun, Chief Anthony Idigbe, and Prof. Fidelis Oditah, representing Atuche, while Dr Kemi Pinheiro and Sebastine Hon represented the state.

The Supreme Court’s decision brings closure to this high-profile case, affirming the convictions and sentences of Atuche and Anyanwu, and concluding the legal proceedings that have spanned over a decade.

Post a Comment