An Abuja Based Company yesterday dragged Diamond Nigeria PLC before an Abuja High Court asking to award it the sum of N310 million being special and exemplary damages against the bank for illegally tampering with its accounts and stealing the sum of N5 million.
The Court presided over by Justice Olasumbo Goodluck yesterday granted the application brought by the plaintiff through its Counsel Sunny Uche to serve the bank the court processes through substituted means out of jurisdiction. The matter is adjourned to June 26th for hearing.
The plaintiff through its Counsel Sunny Uche in its statement of claims averred that on or about the 18th day of July, 2012, the plaintiff through its Managing Director, Mr. Odofin went to the defendant’s (Diamond Bank) Kubwa Branch to withdraw some money to pay the staff, buy building materials meet other expenses in the execution of a contract it has and particularly to meet the demands of customers, some of whom have paid money for the supply of blocks and other building materials, the cheque it presented was returned on the ground that it has insufficient funds in the account.
The plaintiff noted that “I was indeed surprised as aghast at this, as I am very sure that we had enough money to cover the amount on the cheque presented. I therefore requested for the statement of the said current account with number 0018800848. The defendant told the plaintiff to formally apply which the plaintiff did on July 19th, 2012.
“The defendant was surprisingly reluctant and unwilling to give the statement of account as it failed to do so throughout the 19th and much of 20th July, 2012. It took the plaintiff’s Managing Director’s insistence if nit leaving the bank for the said statement of account to be given him towards the close of work.
“The plaintiff further averred that it discovered from the statement that just some days previously, large sums of money were removed and withdrawn from the said account which removal it did not authorize or know about whatsoever.
“The plaintiff states that precisely on the 11th day of July 2012, the sum of N2,850,000 (Two Million Eight Hundred and Fifty Thousand Naira) only was removed or withdrawn purportedly by one Olusola Fagunwa from the said account without the plaintiff’s authorization, mandate or consent. Also on the 16th of July, 2012 another N 2 million was removed by the same Olusola Fagunwa also without the plaintiff’s consent.
The plaintiff declared that it not issue any cheque to any Olusola Fagunwa and that it does not know and has not in any way had dealings with any person by that name whatsoever. The plaintiff averred that when it noticed the removals it made a complaint to the defendant at its aforementioned Kubwa branch where the account is resident and where the withdrawals were made.
Following the refusal if the defendant to do anything about the illegal, unauthorized withdrawals and illegal debits it reported the case to the police at Kubwa which investigated the matter.
The plaintiff averred that the defendant did not take photographs of the payee or drawee and therefore could not produce his or her identity as is customary in banking transactions where anyone is withdrawing money from an account of a thirdly party especially when a substantial amount is involved.
The plaintiff further averred that the police investigations after a thorough forensic analysis of the signature of the Managing Director of the plaintiff and the one on the cheques showed that the signature on the cheque does not match that of the Managing Director if the plaintiff.
The plaintiff further averred that all the while it has operated the account with the defendant, every withdrawal has always been confirmed personally by the plaintiff’s Managing Director Mr. Odofin and it has always been alerted on the telephone via short messages service of every transaction whether deposit or withdrawals, however in this case there was no confirmation by him before the purported transaction and no alert was sent to him thereafter.
The Company stated that after several efforts aimed at recovering the said sum of N5,050,000 from the Bank it had no other option than to sue the bank.