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Court dismisses bank’s appeal against customer’s suit


High Court

A Lagos High Court has dismissed an appeal by a new generation bank challenging a magistrates’ court’s jurisdiction to hear a 7,491.33 Euros dispute between it and Emil Walson Ltd.

Justice W. Animahun upheld the firm’s contention that magistrates’ courts are recognised by and derive their jurisdiction from Section 6(4)(a) of the Constitution.

Justice Animahun ruled that contrary to the bank’s claim, the lower court did not breach Section 28 of the Magistrates’ Court Law of Lagos State when it entertained the suit.

According to the judge, the magistrate court did not err in law by holding that the firm’s suit was based on negligence without failing to consider how the negligence arose.

Justice Animahun said: “In all, the appeal fails and is hereby dismissed with N100,000 costs to be paid by the appellant within seven days.”

The appeal, which was decided on January 23, 2018, arose from a December 2016 ruling by Mr W. B. Balogun of the Igbosere Magistrates’ Court, Lagos allowing Emil Watson’s 7,491.33 Euros claim against Zenith.

The magistrate also awarded cost of N10,000 in favour of the firm.

Emil Walson Ltd, an import-export firm, is seeking an order compelling the bank to pay it 7,491.33 Euros at 21 percent interest from August 1, 2012.

According to the firm’s August 23, 2013 statement of claim, filed by its counsel Mbanefoh Odozi, the bank “negligently” and “wrongfully” returned to Poland, the 7,491.33 Euros the firm received as payment for its export of African charcoal.

But Zenith, in its September 11, 2017 amended statement of defence, the bank denied liability in the transaction. It made a counter claim of N400,000 for costs against the firm.

In a March 6, 2017 letter marked as ‘Without prejudice’, the bank through its counsel Ademola Obayomi, proposed to pay the claimants N500 ,000 as “final settlement.”

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Lagos High Court

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