16th December, 2010
A limited liability company, Nakem Oil and Gas, alleged to have suffered economicÂ misfortune as a result of a breach of agreement by Finbank Plc, has renewed a legalÂ battle against the bank, by slamming N164 million suit on it in an amended statementÂ of claims.
In the said claim filed before Justice Binta Muritala by Barrister Alade AgbabiakaÂ (SAN), the plaintiff alleged that on 5 October, 2007, Finbank granted it a loanÂ facility in the sum of N265 million for the purchase of 4,000 metric tonnes ofÂ petroleum from Jag Global Resources Limited.
However, despite several oral and telephone conversations with the bank for theÂ publication of its quarterly statement of account, the bank refused, therebyÂ 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 informedÂ 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 wereÂ totally false as the only loan facility given to it has been liquidated on the 25Â January, 2008.
The company further alleged that upon close examination of the statement sent to itÂ on 10 June, 2009, it observed that several amount of money were debited and creditedÂ to its account which the bank refused to explain or justify, thereby breaching itsÂ 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 consultantsÂ to critically examine and reconcile its various accounts with the bank and theÂ findings revealed that the bank had operated the companyâ€™s account without care andÂ diligence, ascribing them to breach, excess commission on turn over and VAT charges,Â excess facility fee, excess interest charges on loans and excessive interest chargesÂ on current account overdraft.
Despite its attempts to explain the position of things, especially the fact that theÂ plaintiffâ€™s statement of account showed only a debit of N31,646,151.85, the EconomicÂ and Financial Crimes Commission kept harassing, intimidating and threatening theÂ life ofÂ staff and officials of the company to pay N332,464,151.85, failure of whichÂ the companyâ€™s operation would be shut.
Further to the above false and unjustified picture of indebtedness painted by theÂ bank and EFCC, the company was published in the national dailies by the Central BankÂ of Nigeria as one of the heavily indebted and high risk companies which made itÂ unable to secure financial assistance.
It said that it also suffered grave and negative publicity that nobody was willingÂ to transact business with it.
The company contended further that in total and complete breach of the bankâ€™sÂ obligations to it as its bankers, agent or trustees, Finbank has faileda and refusedÂ to account to the company the said unwarranted, excessive and unjustified charges,Â unauthorised debit and credit entries made by the bank on its accounts, while EFCCÂ has threatened to close it down.
The companyâ€™s claim against Finbank Plc is in the sum of N164,132,512.71 beingÂ special damages suffered for the inconveniences, hardship and huge financial lossÂ suffered as a result of the breach of agreement which was further compounded by theÂ unlawful and illegal acts of the EFCC as well as an order restraining the EFCC andÂ its agents from harassing and threatening its managing director.