Bank fined N25m for freez­ing ac­count on EFCC’S di­rec­tive

The Punch - - BAR/BENCH NEWS - Oladimeji Ra­mon

FOR freez­ing the bank ac­count of one Mr Adetokunbo Odu­tola on the in­struc­tions of the Eco­nomic and Fi­nan­cial Crimes Com­mis­sion, the La­gos State High Court in Ikeja has awarded N25m against Di­a­mond Bank Plc.

In a judg­ment by Jus­tice S.O. Nwaka, the court held that a bank ac­count could only be frozen on the or­der of a court and not on the in­struc­tions of a law en­force­ment or an­ti­cor­rup­tion agency.

The judge held, “The bank went ahead to place PND (Post No Debit) on the ac­count of the claimant on the in­struc­tions of the EFCC. The bank ought to have de­manded from the EFCC an or­der of court to that ef­fect.

“It is not in the power of the EFCC to au­tho­rise a PND on any customer’s ac­count. The EFCC must not usurp the pow­ers of a court of law. The duty of care owed the claimant by the sec­ond de­fen­dant (Di­a­mond Bank) is noth­ing but breached.

“This is a so­ci­ety whose af­fairs are sup­posed to be gov­erned and con­ducted in ac­cor­dance with the law. The EFCC and the bank tak­ing law into their own hands is noth­ing but shame­ful.

“I am sat­is­fied that the claimant has proved his case on the pre­pon­der­ance of ev­i­dence and I so hold. Judg­ment is hereby en­tered for the claimant against the sec­ond de­fen­dant as per his claims.”

Odu­tola, a lawyer, had urged the court to de­clare that the bank acted neg­li­gently and breached the duty of care to him.

He sought N25m against the bank as spe­cial and gen­eral dam­ages.

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