Customer Engages Bank In Legal Battle


An oil company, Nakem Oil and Gas Limited, has dragged Fidelity Bank Plc before a Federal High Court in Lagos, South West Nigeria, over alleged excessive charges.

Also joined as co-defendants are Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit, Moses N. Saba and the Inspector General of Police, as it was alleged that police is used as debt recovery agent by the bank.

According to a statement of claim filed before the court by Barrister Alade Agbabiaka (SAN), it was alleged that on 30 April, 2007, Fidelity Bank granted a loan facility of N268,094,250.00 to the oil company for the purchase of 5,000 metric tones of dual purpose kerosene.

Thereafter, the oil company made various deposits into its account to liquidate the loan but was shocked when sometimes in early 2009, the bank alleged that the company owed the sum of N52,973,939.79 as outstanding debt on the loan facility.

Due to the accusation of its alleged indebtedness, the company made several requests for its statement of account but the bank refused and failed to issue any statement of account, rather it sent a concocted and fictitious statement of account to the company.

Upon close examination of the said statement of account, the company noticed various fictitious and irregular debit and credit entries and consequently instructed its consultants, Corimol Consulting, to critically examine and reconcile with the bank and its account.

The company stated that by the finding of its consultant, it was revealed that the bank had operated its account without due care and diligence, ascribing thereto interest rates, COT and VAT charges irregularly in excess of and at variance with approved Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) guidelines and even at the terms of the bank’s offer letter for the granting of the said loan, which clearly shows that the bank had grossly breached and violated its duty of skill and due care, diligence and accountability owed and due to the company as its customer.

The plaintiff further averred that while it was disputing the said statement of account and requesting for more records for proper reconciliation, the bank reported the company to the Commissioner of Police, Special Fraud Unit and despite all attempts to explain the true state of things to Mr. Moses Saba, the Commissioner of Police, he kept on harassing, intimidating, embarrassing and threatening the life of the staff and officials of the company to pay the disputed indebtedness, failure of which, would result in the police closing down the company’s business operations completely, arrest all the staff and place the name of its managing director in national newspapers as a wanted person and since then, the police boss has continue to harass, intimidate and threaten the staff of the company for payment of non existing debt.

Consequently, the plaintiff, while claiming the sum of N15 million from the bank as special damages suffered, it urged the court to declare that it is not indebted or owing the bank any mount of money.

The company is also urging the court to restrain the defendant and its agents from harassing and threatening its staff and the managing director.


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