Bank Dragged To Court Over Excessive Charges


A limited liability company, Nakem Oil and Gas, alleged to have suffered economic  misfortune as a result of a breach of agreement by Finbank Plc, has renewed a legal  battle against the bank, by slamming N164 million suit on it in an amended statement  of claims.

In the said claim filed before Justice Binta Muritala by Barrister Alade Agbabiaka  (SAN), the plaintiff alleged that on 5 October, 2007, Finbank granted it a loan  facility in the sum of N265 million for the purchase of 4,000 metric tonnes of  petroleum from Jag Global Resources Limited.

However, despite several oral and telephone conversations with the bank for the  publication of its quarterly statement of account, the bank refused, thereby  preventing and denying the plaintiff from knowing the true state of its account.

The company was, however, shocked when sometimes in February 2009, the bank informed  Nakem Oil and Gas Company that it was owing N314,546,237.37.

The plaintiff averred further that the above assertion as stated by the bank were  totally false as the only loan facility given to it has been liquidated on the 25  January, 2008.

The company further alleged that upon close examination of the statement sent to it  on 10 June, 2009, it observed that several amount of money were debited and credited  to its account which the bank refused to explain or justify, thereby breaching its  duty of care, accountability and diligence owed to it as its banker and agent.

As a result of the discrepancies and irregularities, it instructed its consultants  to critically examine and reconcile its various accounts with the bank and the  findings revealed that the bank had operated the company’s account without care and  diligence, ascribing them to breach, excess commission on turn over and VAT charges,  excess facility fee, excess interest charges on loans and excessive interest charges  on current account overdraft.

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Despite its attempts to explain the position of things, especially the fact that the  plaintiff’s statement of account showed only a debit of N31,646,151.85, the Economic  and Financial Crimes Commission kept harassing, intimidating and threatening the  life of  staff and officials of the company to pay N332,464,151.85, failure of which  the company’s operation would be shut.

Further to the above false and unjustified picture of indebtedness painted by the  bank and EFCC, the company was published in the national dailies by the Central Bank  of Nigeria as one of the heavily indebted and high risk companies which made it  unable to secure financial assistance.

It said that it also suffered grave and negative publicity that nobody was willing  to transact business with it.

The company contended further that in total and complete breach of the bank’s  obligations to it as its bankers, agent or trustees, Finbank has faileda and refused  to account to the company the said unwarranted, excessive and unjustified charges,  unauthorised debit and credit entries made by the bank on its accounts, while EFCC  has threatened to close it down.

The company’s claim against Finbank Plc is in the sum of N164,132,512.71 being  special damages suffered for the inconveniences, hardship and huge financial loss  suffered as a result of the breach of agreement which was further compounded by the  unlawful and illegal acts of the EFCC as well as an order restraining the EFCC and  its agents from harassing and threatening its managing director.

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