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CPC orders bank to refund ‘illegal’ deduction to Bauchi government

By Itunu Ajayi
01 August 2016   |   4:47 am
The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has ordered First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to refund N1,542,775,841.58 to the Bauchi State government being the illegal deductions made from its loan account.
DG of Consumer Protection Council, Dupe Atoki

DG of Consumer Protection Council, Dupe Atoki

The Consumer Protection Council (CPC) has ordered First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to refund N1,542,775,841.58 to the Bauchi State government being the illegal deductions made from its loan account.

The order was made after the conclusion of its investigation into a petition from the government, alleging that it had been short-changed by FCMB with N1, 864,188,594.78 excess interest and other charges on its loan account with the bank.

The bank was also directed to “present written assurances in line with Section 10 of the CPC Act that they will refrain from a continuation of any conduct which is detrimental to the interest of consumers of banking services”.

It further stated that it had communicated all the orders given to FCMB to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

According to the council, the order is in line with its functions to provide redress for unscrupulous exploitation of consumers by companies, firms, trade associations or individuals, under Section 2 (i) of the CPC Act, Cap. C25 of the Laws of the Federation of Nigeria, 2004

It, therefore, ordered the FCMB to report compliance to the order within 30 days of receipt. It also ordered the bank to develop and present to it a customer complaint resolution policy within 30 days of the receipt of the order and post same on its website.

Meanwhile, efforts to get the bank’s position on the matter were unsuccessful as its head of corporate communication was said to be out of the country.

Commenting on the development, the council’s director-General, Mrs. Dupe Atoki, charged Nigerian banks to realise that their customers, either corporate or individual, symbolise the essence of their existence and, therefore, should exhibit high level of professionalism and ethical practice in their interaction with the public.

The government had petitioned CPC after CBN declined further adjudication on the case through a letter dated July 15, 2015 to the petitioner, asking it to “seek alternative means of redress as the case is hereby deemed closed.”