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Company sues bank over alleged excessive charges

Scamps Communication Ltd. on Tuesday sued the Standard Chartered Bank Nig. Ltd. before a Lagos High Court in Igbosere, over an alleged excessive loan interest.

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In the suit marked Temp/4872/2019, the first and second claimants are Scamps Communication and its Managing Director, Mr Victor Chukwu.

The claimants through their counsel, Mr Ogedi Ogu, are asking the court to order the bank to refund them N165 million, allegedly representing excess charges by the bank on credit facilities it gave them.

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In their statement of claim, they alleged that in 2014/2015, the company secured loan facilities from the bank to enable it to meet its contractual obligations with another company, Crown Agents Nig. Ltd. for four years that would end in 2019/2020.

According to claimants, the bank granted the facilities and created three receivable accounts including a warehousing account for keeping of proceeds from the contract employers, and from which the bank was to take repayment for the facilities.

The claimants said that the bank was to discount the invoices issued in the contract between them and the contract employers, adding that it was mutually agreed by the parties that all payments from the contract employers would be sent to the bank.

They claimed that it was the responsibility of the bank to receive the proceeds from the contract from the contract employers, make necessary deductions for repayment of the credit facilities, and release the excess funds to the claimants.

They averred that, on Aug. 10, 2016, they received a letter from its contract employer, Crown Agents, abruptly terminating the contract for which the bank had granted and financed the letters of credit, noting that repayment was premised on proceeds from the contract.

The claimants said that after the bank became aware of the termination of the contract and frustration of the source of repayment for the facilities offered, it started making bogus and divergent claims for repayment for loans not received by the claimants.

They said that since the frustration of the contract, the bank had been demanding and charging ridiculous interests on the facilities, in spite of having been notified of the abrupt terminated of the contract.

The claimants said that they then demanded a statement of the company‘s account from the bank, consequent upon which the bank sent a zipped-coded and pass-worded purported statement of account.

According to the claimants, a forensic audit carried out on their transaction with the bank revealed that while the transaction lasted, the bank failed to conform to the Central Bank of Nigeria Monetary Policy Guidelines on bank charges.

He said that the bank engaged in excess bank charges, interest on unsolicited loan, arbitrary and unwarranted charges to the tune of N6.5 million, penalty charges in the sum of N10.4 million, illegal insurance charges and excess flat charges.

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They added that the bank deliberately created a huge overdraft position to earn massive debit interest to the detriment of the claimants.

Scamps Communication and its managing director therefore, claim the sum of N165 million as the total sum to be refunded to them by the bank as excessive and illegal charges.

They seek a declaration that since the contract was frustrated and terminated, the bank has no basis to charge or continue to charge an interest on the said facility.

The claimants also want a court order directing the bank to release all their title document in its custody.
No date has been fixed for hearing of the new suit. (NAN)