Court Orders First Bank To Pay Dismissed Staff N5m


An Ikeja high court in Lagos has ordered First Bank of Nigeria Plc to pay the sum of N5million to one of its former employees, Mr Nurudeen Akanji, for wrongful dismissal.

Justice Opeyemi Oke in a judgment delivered this week held that the dismissal was unlawful, null and void.

Akanji, 53, was dismissed from the bank on 3 March, 1999 for alleged misconduct which made the bank to lose N162.5million in a business transaction.

He was said to have failed to properly cleared two cheques issued to the bank on December 7, 2008, which resulted in the loss.

The judge held that the claimant who had served the bank for over 18 years was cleared of the alleged offence by the Failed Bank Tribunal, Ikoyi, which acquitted him of the charges.

She said the bank breached a principle of natural justice by summarily dismissing Akanji from its service while he was still being prosecuted at the Failed Bank Tribunal.

Oke said, “ I am of the view that the principle of natural justice has not been followed in this case.

“The bank should have waited for the outcome of the tribunal rather than relying on the report of its disciplinary committee to dismiss the claimant”.

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She further held that Akanji who was the head of the Up-Country Clearnce Unit of the bank in Surulere, Lagos, had earlier foiled a N72million fraud through diligence of duty.

The judge said: “ There was no doubt that the claimant was traumatised as a result of the defendant’s action.

“Evidence have been given before this court as to how his name was broadcast in the news media.

“There is evidence that he was stigmatised and has been unable to get another job which had made him move from a banker to a man now selling pure water”.

Oke said the family of the claimant has been suffering due to his inability to cater for its needs, adding that it has taken 12 years for him to get justice.

She, therefore, ordered the bank to pay him all his emoluments and benefits worth N4million.

The judge also ordered First Bank to pay Akanji N500,000 as damages for his wrongful dismissal and another N500,000 being cost for the institution of the suit.

—Henry Ojelu

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