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Court orders bank to pay author N10m after losing 6,000 Euros in money transfer fraud


skye-bankA Lagos High Court, Igbosere has ordered Skye Bank Plc to pay N10 million as general damages to a Nigerian writer, Odafe Atogun over his missing €6, 000 Western Union Money Transfer sent to him from Ireland.

The court sitting before Justice Mobolanle Okikiolu-Ighile in her judgment, held that the bank was negligent when it paid the writer’s €6, 000 Western Union Money Transfer to an impostor.

The writer, Odafe had in his statement of claim dated July 31, 2009, and filed by his lawyer, Pascal Ememonu, accused Skye Bank of negligence in its handling of €6, 000 sent to him by one Hudson Killeen from Ireland for the purpose of establishing a printing press in Nigeria.
But, the bank had in its counter affidavit challenged the court’s jurisdiction and competence to adjudicate on the suit being a claim arising from money transfer agreement between one Kevin Fuller and Western Union in the Republic of Ireland.

The claimant had stated in his evidence that before sending the money, Kelvin Fuller filled a Western Union Money Transfer form which included questions on the city and country where the money is to be collected.

The claimant added that Kelvin Fuller, further disclosed to him, the money transfer control number and the test questions and answers which would enable him collect the money from any bank operating Western Union Money Transfer in Abuja, only and nowhere else.

However, since Nigerian banks do not offer Western Union Money Transfer to their customers after 4pm and the alleged €6, 000 was sent at about 5.28pm Nigerian time, the claimant decided not to go to the bank on the day the money was sent.

But, at about few minutes past eight the next day, the claimant allegedly went to Ecobank Plc on Ademola Adetokunbo Crescent, Wuse II, Abuja to collect the money only to be told that the said money transfer control number may not exist or may have been used.

The claimant stated that after about two months of continuous enquiry, the Western Union Money Transfer office in Ireland discovered that the said money was paid out at 6.22pm Nigerian time on November 3, 2008, by the defendant’s branch office at 1, Forestry Road Benin City, Nigeria to a wrong person who impersonated as the claimant.

He accused the bank of negligence by paying the money to an impostor at 6. 22pm which was outside banking hours, a violation of regulatory guidelines by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

He further stated that as a result of the negligence of the bank, his Irish partners have lost faith in him and with Nigerian business environment and consequently terminated his appointment as their representative in Nigeria.

Following the judgment, Atogun, whose novel is currently being published in the UK, with translations in German, Italian, Turkish and other languages, said he could write a memoir on his seven-year battle against Skye Bank.

Delivering judgment in the suit, Justice Okikiolu-Ighile held that Skye bank admitted under cross-examination that the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) investigated the matter and found that it was negligence in the course of the transaction.
The judge also held that the Skye Bank’s witness was not in the banking hall on the November 3, 2008, when the Benin City branch of the bank wrongfully paid out the 6,000 Euros meant for the claimant to an impostor.

Besides, the presiding judge also observed that Skye bank did not produce the Close Circuit Television (CCTV) of the banking hall of its Benin City branch on that day nor did it produce the alleged report of its own investigation.
Justice Okikiolu-Ighile stated that she found the claimant as a truthful witness after watching his demeanour.
Consequently, the court awarded the sum of N10 million as general damages, and additional N250, 000 in favour of the claimant.

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  • Joseph Williams

    A daniel comes to judgement!

  • land37_akanbi17

    I would make a personal contribution to this judgment based on my personal experience with the Skye Bank, Plc. In 2013, I released a cheque for the sum of N50,000 to my in -law who was based at Ogbomoso, Oyo State. I registered the envelop that contained the cheque. Incidentally, the cheque was cleverly removed from the post office and presented to a branch of Skye Bank with a fake identification card! It took a month or so, before I realized that the cheque had been paid to an impostor. I wrote a strong petition to the management but I was denied of all my petitions! The impostor’s photograph was not taken and I was told that the bank was not under any obligation to take photographs of clients whose cheque value was under N100,000! I was directed to check the Central Bank of Nigeria’s directive on that issue. My further investigation evinced an inside connection with the culprits at the Nigerian Post Office. Why I believe this assertion is that I sent an earlier message to the bank that I was going to release the cheque to my in-law and that the bank should honour the cheque. The insider at the bank must have informed the impostor at the post office about the incoming mail to my in-law. My in-law name was mentioned in my e-mail to the bank. I am convinced, the link to the impostor originated from the bank. My advice to the management of Skye Bank is to always have a back ground check of it employees before engagement. or employment. There are quite a number of activities going on within the bank which must be properly addressed. I am a shareholder of the bank and the bank’s success in mine. My N50,000 is yet to be refunded to me! I appealed to the management that the negligence of the bank must not be extended to me as a genuine and responsible customer. I uphold the belief that my money will one day be refunded to me and very soon to.

  • Bd

    Very good judgement. l am a customer of skye bank branches in ikorodu and anytime l go to collect money transfer through western union or fleet cash you always see young boys in the area with fake id cards collecting other poeple’s money.The money collected is an insider job.skyebank should bring this department to the main front counter instead of hiding them away in one coner. Local government ikorodu branch pls take note