Supreme Court Upholds Conviction of Bank PHB Ex-MD Atuche in N25.7 Billion Fraud Case, Ending 13-Year Legal Battle


The Supreme Court of Nigeria delivered its final verdict on Friday, affirming the conviction of Francis Atuche, former Managing Director of Bank PHB Plc, for his role in a N25.7 billion fraud scheme. In a unanimous decision, the apex court upheld the earlier judgments of the trial court and the Court of Appeal, stating that Atuche failed to provide adequate evidence to overturn his conviction.

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Justice M.A.A. Adumein, delivering the lead judgment, reiterated the court’s stance that appellate courts should defer to the credibility assessments made by trial courts, particularly when supported by documentary evidence, unless extraordinary circumstances dictate otherwise. This ruling marks the conclusion of a protracted legal battle spanning over 13 years.

Atuche, along with his co-defendants including the bank’s former chief financial officer Ugo Anyanwu, had been arraigned by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in 2011. The charges stemmed from a 27-count amended charge related to fraudulent activities involving loans and shares within the bank.

Initially convicted in 2021 by the High Court of Lagos State, Atuche and Anyanwu saw their convictions affirmed by the Court of Appeal in June 2022, though Atuche’s sentence was reduced to 12 years. Dissatisfied with these outcomes, Atuche pursued an appeal to the Supreme Court earlier this year, which has now upheld the convictions, bringing an end to the legal saga.

Chief Wole Olanipekun (SAN), leading Chief Anthony Idigbe (SAN), and Prof. Fidelis Oditah (SAN) represented Atuche in the appeal, challenging his conviction, while Dr. Kemi Pinheiro (SAN), acting on behalf of the state, defended the integrity of the lower courts’ decisions.

The Supreme Court’s decision reaffirms the judicial process’s adherence to scrutiny and accountability in cases of financial malpractice, setting a precedent for future legal proceedings involving similar circumstances.

By Naija247news
By Naija247news
Naija247news is an investigative news platform that tracks news on Nigerian Economy, Business, Politics, Financial and Africa and Global Economy.

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