June 23, (THEWILL) – The Court of Appeal, Lagos, has affirmed the conviction of former Managing Director of defunct Bank PHB Plc, Francis Atuche, for N25.7bn fraud.
The court also affirmed the conviction of Atuche’s co-convict, Ugo Anyanwu, who was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment by the lower court for stealing and conspiracy to steal.
The duo in a ruling on Thursday, however, had their jail term commuted. While Atuche, formally sentenced to 12 years, will now spend six years in prison, Anyanwu’s jail term was reduced to eight years.
The former bank chief, his wife, Elizabeth and Anyanwu were accused of stealing and conspiring to steal N25.7 billion belonging to the bank. They were arraigned in 2011 before Mrs Okunnu and they pleaded not guilty.
Justice Lateefa Okunnu of the Lagos State High Court sitting at Ikeja, had on June 16, 2021, sentenced Atuche, to 12 years’ imprisonment for N25.7bn fraud in the bank.
While his former Chief Financial Officer, Ugo Anyanwu, was sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for stealing and conspiracy to steal, Justice Okunnu cleared Atuche’s wife on the charge of conspiracy and stealing.
But dissatisfied with the judgement of the lower court, Atuche approached the court of Appeal to challenge the judgement.