Court orders GTBank to refund N4.6 million, $3,000 illegal debits to customer

  The Federal Capital Territory High Court has ordered Guaranty Trust Bank Plc to reverse funds illegally deducted from the account of one of its customers, Universal Agricultural Empowerment and Development Initiative (UNAEDI).

In his ruling on September 25 in suit No. FCT/HC/CV/2306/2017, Justice O.O. Goodluck ordered the bank to refund N412,000, $3,123.16 and N4,224,259 to the company’s account.

The court also ordered the bank to pay additional N100,000 as general damages to the company and its registered trustees, along with Osaretin Williams.

The monies were deductions from the customers’ account between March 9 and April 20, 2016 after the bank, on November 13, 2015, placed a lien on the account, which the court also declared illegal. In his statement of claims, Samuel Irabo who is the counsel to UNAEDI and Mr Williams, asked the court to determine if GTBank has the right to unilaterally flag some transaction as ‘fraudulent’ after deducting bank charges from it.

Besides, Mr Irabo also asked the court to determine if the bank has the right to place a lien on his clients’ account and continue to deduct from it without informing, or explaining to the customer the reason for doing so.

The lawyer told the court that on November 13, 2015, the Wuse 2, Abuja branch of the GTBank placed a lien on his client’s account No 0164981107 operated under the Universal Agricultural Empowerment and Development Initiative merchant platform and the GT Pay service.

On March 9, 2016, he said the representative of his clients, Mr Williams, received several alerts on his mobile telephone in respect of various debits to the account by the bank.

He said the debits totaling about N412,000, included N3,000 at about 7.47 p.m, and N6,000, N100,000 and N200,000, all at about 7.48 p.m.

Again, Mr Irabo said on March 10, 2016 at about 11.03 p.m., a GTBank staff, one Oluwaseun Fatugase, sent an email through the bank’s internet portal titled: “Fraudulent Transfers IRO UNIV AGRIC EMP & DEV INI 0164981107.”

He said by the mail, the fraud desk of Heritage Bank Limited was alerted that transactions supposedly between his clients and one Adebola Olu Ogundeko were fraudulent. In addition, he said similar notifications were sent to First Bank, Zenith Bank, Diamond Bank, Access Bank and Sterling Bank where his clients also has accounts.