How Zenith Bank Illegally Prevented Customer From Making Withdrawal From His Account For 5YRS -Justice Abike Fadipe
Justice Olubunmi Abike-Fadipe made the claim on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 while delivering judgment in a suit marked LD/ADR/186/2014 between Real Integrated and Hospitality Limited as claimant and Zenith Bank Plc and State Universal Basic Education (SUBEB) as first and second defendants respectively.
Justice Abike-Fadipe did make a scathing criticism of the bank accusing it of denying the claimants rights to their account.
The judge’s comments, as contained in the judgement, include: “The 1st defendant has been the beneficiary of the malevolent game of chess it plunged both claimant and the 2nd defendant into, holding the sum of N872,780,552.84 in its custody without paying interest thereon from 17th February 2011 until 2nd February 2016 when the Court ordered that the money be paid into an interest yielding account in the names of the claimant and the 2nd defendant pending determination of the suit, which order was curiously varied by the consent of all the parties on 20th September 2016 so that the money remained in the 1st defendant’s custody without interest.
“The act of the 1st defendant was unconscionable and detrimental to the goodwill of the claimant and its trade credit with its customers. It was a deliberate and malicious act against the interest of the claimant and the 1st defendant continues to enjoy the largesse in bad faith. Exhibits C4 and C5 clearly state that the funds to be transferred were to offset part of the claimant’s indebtedness for the importation of dictionaries, but the 1st defendant was impervious to this need. I therefore find and hold that the claimant is entitled to substantial damages against the 1st defendant for the injury caused to it.”
The judge made the comments while granting the claimants four reliefs.
The reliefs are that the 1st defendant (Zenith) was in breach of contract when on 7th October, 2011 it refused the claimant to draw from its account No. 1012465427 “despite the fact that the said account was in enough credit to cover the withdrawals sought to be made on the said date.”
The judge further restrained the bank “from disturbing or refusing the claimant from operating its account No. 1012465427 in the 1st defendant’s bank or from honouring the claimant’s transfer or payment obligations to third parties from the said account as long as same is in credit.”
It granted an “interest of 15% per annum on the sum of N872,780,552.84 from 7th October 2011 when the 1st defendant denied the claimant access to the funds in its account which was in credit at that date till judgment.
“Interest on the judgment sum at the rate of 10% per annum from judgment date till final liquidation thereof and costs of this action in the sum of N2.5million.
Police launch manhunt for Sterling Bank staff for Stealing customers’ N300m
The Delta State Police Command on Sunday says it has begun search for a female staff of Sterling Bank in Effurun Branch, Delta State for allegedly disappearing with customers’ money to the tune of N300 milion.
Police Public Relations Officer in the State, DSP Bright Edafe who confirmed this to our correspondent, said that the suspect, a female staff (name withheld) allegedly defrauded customers of the bank she works in the sum of N300million, adding that the police were seriously looking for her.
DSP Bright Edafe said that the female banker was said to have approached some account owners to grant her permission to be using their money for business while she would be giving the customers certain percentage every month, adding that this was not to be as it was discovered last week by one of the customers that the woman stopped coming to work and an attempt to reach her on phone was unsuccessful as her lines were switched off.
It was gathered that on getting to her house around Living Faith Church at Water Resources, Effurun where she lived, it was alleged that she had also absconded as one of her colleagues said that the female banker did business with customers’ money with their consent while it backfired when many people she gave money to refused to pay back, a situation that had kept her hiding from the people.
Edafe said that the police will do everything possible to arrest her, disclosing that her co-workers denied her whereabouts when the incident happened upon police investigation, adding that there has been palpable tension laced with threats to sack her co-workers who assisted her to ensure that she was allowed to be using the funds when they pleaded with the owners of the money.
He also revealed that her husband had been invited for questioning.
Kontongs Bello, Police Public Relations Officer, who confirmed this to journalists, said that the suspect is wanted for many cases that bothered on robbery, stealing among others, adding that the police will do everything possible to smoke him from his hideout.
Oriental Energy in 4m Dollar Debt Mess
The Federal high court sitting in Lagos, south west Nigeria has adjourned till 28 of September,2022, when hearing will commence in a case of debt recovery of USD4,143,856.70 filed against Oriental Energy Resources Company by Borr International Operation drilling company,being an alleged outstanding approved and unpaid invoices for the drilling services rendered in accordance with Contract for the provision of Jack-Up Drilling Unit and Drilling Rig Services rendered in the Defendant’s Ebok Field in OML 67.
The drilling company in a suit filed by its lawyer, Barrister,Gabriel Uduafi is also praying the court for interest on US$ 4,143,856.70 million based on the current London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR), one month interest rate increased by 5 percent and calculated pro data on a daily basis from 6th October, 2021, till the date of liquidation of the judgement debt.
In its statement of claim, the Plaintiff stated that by the relevant provisions of the contract, the Drilling Operations, which the Plaintiff was engaged to carry out was required to be done within the Firm Term of 120 days.
It stated that going by the relevant provisions of the Contract, there was no fixed-or set target that the Plaintiff was obligated to achieve, as the Contract was not a turnkey but a day rate’ contract; and to this effect, Clauses and Schedule of the Contract explicitly set out the various rates to include Operating Rate, Standby Rate, Repair Rate, . Force Majeure Rate, Redrill Rate, Moving Rate and Zero Kate.
The plaintiff stated that the Lump Sum payments under the contract are the Mobilization cost of $450,000 and the
Demobilization cost of $250,000, a sum Which become due and payable upon the completion of the contract.
However,following the default in making payment as stipulated under the Contract, the plaintiff wrote to the Defendant both by mail and letters, demanding for the payment of the outstanding and approved invoices and that the Defendant wrote replies raising issues and points that are completely alien to the Contract as its reason for not making the payment.
The Plaintiff contended that in setting up a completely ridiculous claim, the Defendant claimed spread cost for nonproductive time (NPT) in the total sum of US$3,437,500.00 where there is no provision in the Contract to support such claim.
The Plaintiff added that following series of engagement , it was compelled to instruct its lawyers to issue a demand for the payment of the invoices, and by a letter dated 19th January, 2022 the Plaintiffs Solicitors delivered a formal demand for the payment of some of the outstanding invoices in the sum of US$2,533,749.12 net of taxes.
Rather than simply honour its payment obligation under the Contract and credit the Plaintiff with the value of the invoices, the Defendant caused its Solicitors to reply the Plaintiff’s formal demand by the letter dated 26th January, 2022 by which the Defendant now seeks to claim the sum of $10,511,754.00 as spread cost for non-productive time (NPT) and consequential loss, as against the sum of US$3,437,500.00 initially set up by the Defendant in its earlier engagement with the Plaintiff.
The plaintiff added that in accordance with the provisions of the Contract, the same came to completion on 10th October, 2021 when the Plaintiff’s Drilling Unit left the Defendant’s Ebok Field OML 67.
Plaintiff avers that by the Completion Date, the lump sum Demobilization Rate of US$250,000 became due and payable.
The reasons given by the Defendant in refusing to honour its payment obligation under the Contract are flimsy, frivolous, vexatious and ultra vires, the provisions of the Contract between the Parties, and having approved the invoices, the defendant is obligated to make the payment within the stipulated 30 days under the Contract.
Consequently,excuses given by the Defendant in failing to honour its contractual obligations to the Plaintiff are simply provocative, as same are not supported or derived from the Contract.
The Plaintiff is being denied of the payment due to it in respect of the services rendered to the Defendant
as a result of which the Defendant is indebted to the Plaintiff to the tune of US$4,143,856.70 as stipulated under Clause 11.2 of the Contract.
It will be in the interest of justice to grant all the reliefs claimed in this suit adding that except the Court intervenes and grant the reliefs sought, the Defendant will continue to default in the payment of the invoices which have been duly approved for payment by the Plaintiff.
In its defence, Oriental Energy Resources Limited stated that the company is not indebted to the Plaintiff in the manner alleged in it’s claim or in any manner whatsoever as the invoices upon which the alleged debt purportedly arose are disputed by the defendant.
The Defendant stated that the Plaintiff misled it into agreeing to the mobilisation of the drilling rig to commence the contract, by fraudulently misrepresenting to the Defendant that its drilling rig, Borr Natt, was suitable for the Defendant’s Drilling Programme.
In an affidavit deposed to by Abraham Faga, a Well Engineering Manager in the Defendant company, he stated that the Defendant is not indebted to the Plaintiff in the way and manner alleged in its claim or in any way and manner whatsoever as the Defendant is disputing the invoices upon which the purported debt arose.
He averred that without the Plaintiff’s fraudulent misrepresentations, the Defendant would never have commenced the contract and approved mobilisation of the drilling unit, hence the issue of Plaintiff’s invoices which were issued within the contract would never have arisen.
He added that the Defendant would, be claiming for a refund of all payments it has so far made to the Plaintiff as the payments were fraudulently obtained.
He claimed that due to the Plaintiff’s fraudulent misrepresentation, the purported execution of the contract was completely appalling with non-productive time of over 25 days attributed to rig related repairs which is unprecedented in the industry for drilling operations.
He stated that the Plaintiff hastily commenced this suit under undefended list to mislead the court into believing that the Defendant has no defence to its claims.
The deponent further stated that Justice will be better served if the Defendant is allowed to defend the suit.
He urged the court to transfer the suit to Ordinary Cause List for a complete and holistic determination of all issues in controversy.
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