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Firm sues bank over alleged negligent misstatement


EcobankA firm, Omais Investiment Nigeria Limited has sued Ecobank Nigeria Limited before the Federal High Court, Lagos for ‘frustrating its business’ through negligent misstatement. The claimant said the bank listed its name in the ‘non performing loan’ system in order to frustrate its ability to raise funds for it business in any Nigerian Bank. Listed as second defendant in the suit is the Central Bank of Nigeria.

In the suit numbered FHC/CS/382/15, the claimant is seeking an order of the court for “restorative injunction directing the 1st and 2nd defendants to remove the plaintiff’s company name from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Credit Risk Management System (CRMS) Database as a customer having a non-performing loan.” ‎ In its statement of claim, the plaintiff averred that it operated two accounts with Oceanic Bank International Plc and following 100% acquisition of Oceanic Bank by the first defendant in the last quarter of 2011, it became customer of 1st defendant.

The firm averred that the two accounts operated with a corporate account and a pearl account. The firm also said: “For all intents and purposes, plaintiff stopped transaction and doing business on these accounts with the defendant in October, 2009. “Since October, 2009, at no time whatsoever was it informed by the 1st defendant, be it by letter of demand, notification by way of statement of account or by any medium whatsoever that plaintiff was indebted to the defendant in any sum whatsoever.”    As a result, the plaintiff is seeking a declaration that 1st defendant’s listing of plaintiff’s account(s) with the CBN Credit Risk Management Syatem Database as a non performing loan amounts to negligent misstatements.

The firm is therefore praying for an order directing first defendant to pay the plaintiff the sum of N2 billion as damages for negligent misstatements. The claimant also averred that it is presently embroiled in a civil suit with Ecobank, pending at the Lagos High Court.

It said that parties have been meeting since 2012 with the aim of resolving all issues of indebtedness between the parties and that the first defendant di not in any manner whatsoever raise the issue of the supposed debt. “Parties have on no less than 6 occasions also appeared at the Lagos State Multi Door Court House for purposes of mediation.

The plaintiff shall also establish at the trial of this suit that the listing of its name with the CBN CRMS was only done in the last quarter of year 2014 without just cause and with the aim of frustrating the plaintiff as a result of the plaintiffs claims in suit No. ID/1432/2011”, it said.

The firm stated that reporting them as having bad credit by the bank was done intentionally, unjustly and in bad faith, adding that the first defendant’s action amounts to a flagrant violation of the principles of Corporate Governance and in clear breach of the CBN Guidelines for Licensed Banks. The writ is supported by a 24 paragraph witness statement on oath deposed to by the Chief Executive Officer of the firm, Chief Omochiere Aisagbonhi.

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