Matters Arising: Supreme Court Affirms Conviction of Ex-Bank PHB MD Atuche


After a 13-year legal battle, the Supreme Court has upheld the conviction of Francis Atuche, former Managing Director of the defunct Bank PHB Plc.

The former MD had been arraigned alongside his then CFO, Mr. Ugo Anyanwu on a 27-count charge for several offences including Conspiracy and Stealing. 

The court affirmed the decisions of the lower courts, emphasizing that Atuche failed to disprove their findings. In the unanimous judgment read by Justice Moore Adumein, the Supreme Court held that the appellant, Francis Atuche, did not attempt to dislodge the finding of the trial court and the Court of Appeal on his credibility.

The court in relying on its previous decisions to the effect that where the decision of a trial court on the demeanour of a party or witness is supported by the documentary evidence tendered, an appellate court has no business in tampering with the decision of the court.

What this means is that the appellant, Mr. Francis’ testimony lacked the credibility to disprove the documentary evidence brought against him.

In conclusion, the court held that the appellant had not given it any reason to tamper with the concurrent finding of the two lower courts.

Legal Implications

The ruling reinforces the judiciary’s stance on financial crimes, ensuring that decisions supported by documentary evidence are upheld. Again, the case sets a precedent for future financial crime cases, emphasizing the importance of credible evidence and thorough prosecution.


The ruling serves as a deterrent against financial misconduct especially by senior management and executives of a company. The consistency in judgments also strengthens public trust in the legal system.


The matter has been in court for 13 long years. The time of trial is already higher than the sentence passed on the appellants. The 13-year duration highlights the need for more efficient judicial processes.

Lengthy appeals can be financially and emotionally draining for all parties involved.

This landmark decision underscores the Nigerian judiciary’s commitment to justice and accountability in financial crimes.

24 Years on Death Row, Lukman Adeyemi Freed from Wrongful Conviction

Lukman Adeyemi spent 24 years in a living nightmare, enduring nine years in pre-trial detention and 15 years on death row for a crime he didn’t commit. Tortured by SARS officers and coerced into a false confession, Adeyemi’s story highlights severe flaws in the justice system.

Legal Implications

Again, this is one of the many instances of police brutality and coercion in Nigeria. It is interesting to note that Lukeman’s case is not peculiar as there may be others like him. This underscores the urgent need for reform in police interrogation methods, particularly to prevent torture and forced confessions.

The prolonged injustice stresses the necessity for thorough judicial review processes and the importance of legal aid organizations in uncovering wrongful convictions.


  • The Importance of advocacy: The successful intervention by the Centre for Justice Mercy and Reconciliation (CJMR) showcases the critical role of advocacy groups in the justice system.
  • Judicial Reforms: This case could propel reforms aimed at preventing similar miscarriages of justice in the future.


The extensive delay in overturning the wrongful conviction highlights inefficiencies in the judicial process. The prolonged incarceration and torture experienced by Adeyemi have irreversible impacts on his mental and emotional well-being.


Lukman Adeyemi’s story is a heart wrenching one. 24 years stolen from an innocent man. What’s worse? There is no legally recognized platform or system for compensation of wrongfully convicted or detained persons in Nigeria.

One begins to wonder if this is really a win for the victim. However, the efforts from CJMR is testament to resilience and the power of advocacy, shedding light on the urgent need for systemic reforms to ensure justice for all. Hopefully, this serves as an opener for the people in our justice system to do better.

One comment on “Matters Arising: Supreme Court Affirms Conviction of Ex-Bank PHB MD Atuche”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *