Court Orders Payment Of UBA Customer's Judgment Claim

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An aggrieved customer of United Bank for Africa Plc, UBA, Carlink Limited has filed an application before a Lagos high court, praying it to attach the funds of the bank in the Central Bank of Nigeria in order to realise a judgment sum of N119,372,290.27.

Meanwhile, Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi while granting an order nisi has directed the CBN to show cause why it should not pay to Carlink the outstanding judgment sum out of the monies standing to the credit of UBA kept with the apex bank.

The court has adjourned till 10 October this year to find out whether the CBN has obeyed the order of the court or not.

The legal hostility between Carlink, a customer, and the bank arose out of facility agreement in the sum of N400 million with the bank.

The customer protested to UBA about excess debits for COT and other charges of N283,715,55 which were not covered by the agreement.

Carlink then engaged an accounting firm, Corimol, to do a reconciliation of the account and it was discovered that there were excess charges on overdraft, loan, lease and rental facility fees. It was discovered that the total charges due to Carlink were N119,372,290.72.

There is also a CBN penalty provided for in section 3,2,4 (g) of its monetary policy imposing a sum equal to 100% of the amount involved if the excess charges are not refunded with a letter of apology within two weeks of discovery, but the bank concluded that there was no refund due to Carlink.

Carlink called two witnesses, one of its employees, Mabbay Momoh, and the Managing Director of Corimol Company, Mr. Charles Umoh.

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The bank denied the claims of Carlink and filed a defence and counter claim in the sum of N38,553,367.34.

UBA Plc also called two witnesses who are the relationships Managing Director of the Bank, Patrick Madueke and Kolawole Oginni.

Patrick Madueke, when cross examined by Chief Ladi Williams, SAN, stated that the CBN monetary policy and lending rate is not compulsory for banks but were merely advisory and of moral persuasion.

Upon conclusion of the trial written addresses were filed and exchanged and same were adopted.

In his judgment, Justice Adesuyi Olateru-Olagbegi, after considering the submissions of the two parties said:

“The deposition of the two bankers in rebuttal merely reproduced the traverse in the bank’s pleadings but failed to adduce credible rebuttal evidence in the seriation manner adopted by the accounting firm in proof of the customers specific claims. I have no hesitation, therefore, in holding that the claimant has discharged the burden of proof on it and therefore, entitled to the judgment of this court. It is now the burden of the bank to show that its counter claim is not indicted by a default to adhere to CBN guidelines as the charges which formed the basis of the counter claim are in the circumstances, the counter claim fails and is hereby dismissed.

Justice Olateru-Olagbegi further said: “In conclusion, judgment be and is hereby entered in favour of the claimant in the sum of N119,372,290.72 being the sum due from the bank to Carlink owing to erroneous imposition of charges on the claimant. Interest on the said sum will be at the rate of 10% until final liquidation.