Fidelity Bank Staff In A Mess For Freezing Customer’s Account
The staff of Fidelity Bank, Idimu branch, Lagos, Mrs Marian Chima-Ndu has landed in trouble for abuse of power by freezing customer’s account who is a vehicle dealer in order to recover money she paid to purchase SUV without authorization.
P.M.EXPRESS reports that the management of the Bank has started investigation over her conduct by unilaterally frozen the account while the vehicle dealer, Young Suleiman Omokhuale is demanding for #100m from both Miriam Chima-Ndu and Fidelity Bank for the trauma he was subjected for the past one Month Miram frozen the account.
This followed a petition written to the Managing Director, Fidelity Bank PLC dated 12th March 2021 by Barrister E.A. Iyobhebhe on behalf of the complainant.
It stated that Young Suleiman Omokhuale purchased SUV worth #1.7m and delivered to Mariam Chima-Ndu in her office as they agreed after Mariam confirmed and ordered for the vehicle.
However, she rejected it on ground that she no longer wanted it and ordered Omokhuale to transfer money in his account to her account and he refused and asked her to give him time to sell the vehicle and refund her money.
She went and secretly frozen his account insisting that she will not open it until he give her order to transfer the money into her account.
The petitioner stated: “The transaction with your staff was personal contract, howbeit, she unilaterally frozen his account. This complaints is with view for your immediate reversal of the said unlawful freezing of the account and failing which, we will be constrained to sue your Bank and Miriam Chima-Ndu for #100m for depriving the complainant the use of his legitimate fund”
In response, the Bank management confirmed the receipt of the complainant through one Ayobamidele Peter and stated as follows:
“With reference to the unauthorized lien on your account, please be informed that your complainant is receiving attention and feedback will be communicated upon completion of the investigation. All inconveniences are regretted “
But the response appeared to be an illusion because the Bank management never got back to the complainant nor unfrozen the account.
The complainant, Young Suleiman Omokhuale has expressed shock over the incident and lamented that the action of Miriam Chima-Ndu and Fidelity Bank have thrown his business and family in double jeopardy.
He said that he has no access to his money and apart from that Miriam detained him at Idimu police station before the police intervened and asked her to give him time to sell the vehicle and refund her money.
Yet, the account was still unfrozen and he cannot transact any business and feed his family for the past one Month and he resort to begging to feed his family.
On the next action since the Bank has refused to unfrozen the account, he said he was heading to Court and have directed his lawyer to file a suit to that effect.
The Court of Appeal, Lagos has ruled that banks have no right to freeze their customers account without a proper order of court.
The court further ruled that there is no law that confers power on banks to freeze a customer’s account.
Justice Sidi Dauda Bage of the appellate court delivered the judgment, upholding the judgment of Justice Iyabo Kasali of Lagos High Court who had delivered the same judgment at the lower court on September 29, 2005.
It was in a case that involved Fidelity Bank and a private company, Bayuja Ventures Limited and its Managing Director, Mr Bashir Jamoh.
The company and Jamoh were customers of the Apapa branch of the bank. On October 8, 2002, the bank froze the accounts of the plaintiffs by entering a no debit status on the accounts.