Customer sues Access Bank Over alleged disappearance of N151.8m savings

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The Bayelsa State High Court sitting in Yenagoa has adjourned sitting until April 12 and May 22, 2017 in the case between Godsidi Investments Limited and Access Bank, over alleged disappearance of N151.8m from the claimant’s account.

The claimant, GIL, owned by a stalwart of the All Progressives Congress, Mr. Godwin Sidi, had approached the court over the non-authorisation of withdrawal of the said amount from his account by the defendant (Access Bank).

GIL, therefore, sought compensation of N3bn damages from the defendant for the alleged disappearance of the said amount and the pains it (the firm) had gone through over these years.

GIL said Access Bank inherited the money as part of its liabilities when it acquired the defunct Intercontinental Bank Plc in 2012.

In a writ of summon, the firm said it became suspicious when the bank denied it access to the account.

It said the bank stopped the company from withdrawing the money, arguing that the bank’s explanations for denying the company’s withdrawal of its savings were not tenable.

But the presiding judge, Justice Young Ogola, after hearing the cross-examination by the counsel for the defendant, Mr. C.B. Sigalo, adjourned and fixed the case for April 12 and May 2, 2017 for further cross-examination.

Ogola contended that the court had not seen any representative of the Access Bank, either from Abuja or Port Harcourt branch, over the case before the court..

Speaking after the adjournment, counsel for the claimant, Mr. George Halliday, said his client was in the court to address the issue of non-authorisation of withdrawal of N151.8m from his account by the bank.

Halliday claimed that the case was a clear matter for his client, as the bank had never sought an approval from the claimant before such huge sum of money was withdrawn from his account and paid to Bayelsa State Government’s account.

According to Halliday, his client’s account was tampered with by the management of the bank without the approval of his client.

He, therefore, prayed the court to see that the money withdrawn was reversed to the claimant’s account and award N3bn compensation to his client.

The claimant’s counsel said his client had lodged complaints with the Central Bank of Nigeria, the Consumer Protection Council, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, over the alleged withdrawal without authorisation.

When contacted, counsel for the defendant, Sigalo, declined comment, saying that the case was already before the court.

He directed our correspondent to approach the bank’s management for any comment.

But the Access Bank had, in its statement of defence, described the allegations and claims by the firm as “false and baseless.”

It said it was a surreptitious attempt by the company to reopen the matter against Intercontinental Bank already investigated by the CBN, CPC and the EFCC.

The bank said the firm failed to substantiate its claims when the relevant government agencies investigated the matter.

Access Bank stated, “All the investigations conducted revealed that the account of the claimant was credited with various sums of money at the time without any document to support the lodgement.

“The defendant was not in any position to have restored the money allegedly belonging to the the claimant, as the claimant never had any such money in the possession of Intercontinental Bank Plc.”

Access Bank said prior to the acquisition of Intercontinental Bank, there was no report, findings or memo indicting the defunct bank by the CBN, CPC and EFCC in respect of the claims.

It asked the court to dismiss the claims in its entirety “with substantial costs because of its frivolity.”

Culled from Punch

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