Access Bank Plc, has been ordered by the Enugu Vourt of Appeal to refund a total sum of six hundred and thirty-six million, three hundred and seventy-nine thousand, two hundred and five naira, fifty six kobo (N636, 379,205.56) to F.G. Onyenwe motor Nig. Ltd, for fraudulently perpetuating excessive and unlawful charges on the customer’s account in the course of transactions with the bank.
The appellate court, according to 247uReport, gave the order while dismissing an appeal brought before it by the bank challenging the judgment of a federal high court Enugu which found the bank liable for making false debit entries into the customer’s account.
F.G. Onyenwe motors Nig. Ltd who was a customer of Access bank and the respondent in this appeal, was granted several loan facilities, which according to the appellant (bank) the respondent failed to liquidate as at when due.
The appellant in a bid to recover its loan through assistance of a high court in Enugu negotiated terms of settlement with the respondent and consequently, consent judgment entered in favour of the appellant.
The respondent alleged that in the course of complying with the terms of the judgment, for which he had already remitted over N100m, it was discovered that the appellant perpetuated a lot of irregularities in its account and that it was fraudulently misled into entering into terms of settlement which led to the consent judgment.
Following this discovery, the respondent through his lawyer, Chief Tagbo Ike filed a suit against the bank at the federal high court Enugu seeking among other relief’s, a declaration that the defendant has no lawful basis or legal right to charge excessive commissions and interests on the overdraft facilities granted to the customer (plaintiff).
The plaintiff also asked the court to set aside the terms of settlement and consent judgment entered with the bank, and to reverse all the excessive, wrongful and unlawful debit entries made in the said account amounting to N275, 202,069.38. It prayed for perpetual injunction restraining the bank, its staff, agents or privies from levying execution in respect of the said consent judgment or using any court official to achieve same.
The plaintiff further sought the court order condemning the defendant to pay 100% penalty on the excessive charges debited into his account which stood at N361, 177,136.18.
After hearing from parties and evaluating evidence adduced as well as submission made by their counsel, the federal high court entered judgment in favour of the respondent and granted all the reliefs sought (except relief 6) which was abandoned.
Dissatisfied with the judgment, the appellant filed an appeal at the court of appeal Enugu on the grounds that the lower court lacked jurisdiction to entertain and determine the matter and that the lower court failed to properly evaluate the evidence adduced at the trial by rejecting the contents of exhibit G1-G5 (which was the expert report prepared by the appellant bank expert ) as documentary hearsay and lastly that the judgment was unreasonable, unwarranted and against the weight of the evidence adduced before the trial court.
But affirming the federal high court judgment after reviewing the appeal and submissions by counsel to both parties, the 3-man appeal court unanimously held that the lower court was right in declaring that the appellant perpetuated excessive, wrongful charges on the respondent account and fraudulently misled it into believing that it still owed the bank huge sum of money.