A Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has fixed thirteenth of this month to deliver judgement in a suit over about seven billion naiira illegal charges been deducted by Zenith Bank in a customer account.
The suit was instituted by a Nigerian independent oil marketer, Olushola Anthony Adejuyigbe against Zenilth Bank Plc.
The date was fixed by Justice Ayokunle Faji on October 29, 2021, after parties adopted their final written addresses.
It would be recalled that Adejuyigbe alongside his company, Tonique Oil Services Limited, had in 2018 instituted a suit designated FHC/L/CS/1584/2012, against Zenith Bank Plc, over alleged illegal and excessive charges to the tune of N6, 441, 369, 617.73 billion.
In his amended statement of claim, Adejuyigbe through his counsel, Lanre Ogunlesi (SAN) revealed that in the course of its business activities, his company, Tonique Oil Services Limited obtained several credit facilities from Zenith Bank PLC while he pledged three of his properties as securities for the loan facilities.
The oil merchant further stated that three different transactions leading to the legal battle occurred in his company’s Current Account where the alleged excess and illegal interest and charges were discovered and that upon discovery of the said charges, the company demanded a reversal but Zenilth Bank bluntly refused.
He also stated that a forensic accounting firm was engaged to scrutinize and analyse his company’s account, and it was then discovered that between August 2006 and December 2013, excess interest and charges on the company by Zenith Bank Plc had accumulated to the said sum.
Adejuyigbe is contending that he is not indebted to the bank, rather the bank has overcharged him to several billions of Naira.
He urged the court to declare that Zenith Bank, being a bank within the and control of CBN cannot charge interest on any facilities granted to him beyond the official approved policy rate of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
But Zenith Bank in its statement of defence, with its statement on oath sworn to by Senior Assistant Manager internal control and Audit Department of Zenith Bank, Vincent Ohanugo and filed by its lawyers, Ajibola Lawal-Akapo and others, denied almost all the plaintiff’s claims and stated that the company was granted several loans which include: ₦2.5 billion regular commercial paper; $36 million import finance facility; $6, 648 million commercial paper/usance facility; $9million import finance facility via usance facility and $11million short term import facility of ₦500 million.
The bank also stated that the plaintiff authorized Zenith Registrars Plc to take steps to purchase the shares of the bank on its behalf, while also pledging 3.5million and 17,154,300 units of the shares respectively, in favour of the bank and authorized the bank to sell them to recoup part of the credit facilities the bank granted.
Zenith Bank also said the allegation of unethical conduct, lack of competence and professionalism against it by the plaintiff was made out of malice, confusion and frustration on the part of the plaintiffs.
The bank therefore urged the court to dismiss the suit for been frivolous and same amounting to abuse of court process.