Thursday, January 16, 2020

Bank Fined N25m For Freezing Customer's Account On The Order Of The EFCC

A fine of N25m has been awarded against Access Bank by the Lagos State High Court in Ikeja for freezing the bank account of one Mr Adetokunbo Odutola on the instructions of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.

In a judgment by Justice S.O. Nwaka, the court held that a bank account could only be frozen on the order of a court and not on the instructions of a law enforcement or anti-corruption agency.

The judge held, “The bank went ahead to place PND (Post No Debit) on the account of the claimant on the instructions of the EFCC. The bank ought to have demanded from the EFCC an order of court to that effect.

“It is not in the power of the EFCC to authorise a PND on any customer’s account. The EFCC must not usurp the powers of a court of law. The duty of care owed the claimant by the second defendant (Diamond Bank) is nothing but breached.

“This is a society whose affairs are supposed to be governed and conducted in accordance with the law. The EFCC and the bank taking law into their own hands is nothing but shameful.

"I am satisfied that the claimant has proved his case on the preponderance of evidence and I so hold. Judgment is hereby entered for the claimant against the second defendant as per his claims."

Odutola, a lawyer, had urged the court to declare that the bank acted negligently and breached the duty of care to him.

He sought N25m against the bank as special and general damages.

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