Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Court orders Polaris Bank to refund $30,769 illegally deducted from customers’ accounts

The complainants accused the bank of making unlawful deductions from their accounts with no justification whatsoever.

• June 22, 2022
Polaris Bank
Polaris Bank

A magistrate court sitting in Surulere, Lagos has ordered Polaris Bank to refund $30,769 illegally deducted from the domiciliary and Naira accounts of three of its customers.

The order followed an originating application filed by Adebomi Orogun, Kehinde Banjo and Oluwatoyin Ode against the bank for unjustifiable freezing of their accounts and subsequent illegal deductions on the said accounts, a report on The Blog Online detailed.

In her ruling, Magistrate Oluwatoyin Otitoju after reviewing facts presented by the complainants, held that the action of the bank was illegal and void.

“An order of this Honourable Court is hereby made declaring the “post no debit” order placed on the 1st applicant USD, Euro, and Naira accounts and 2nd applicant’s USD and Naira accounts, and 3rd applicant’s USD and Naira accounts by the respondent (Polaris Bank) as illegal,” the court held.

“An order of this Honourable Court is hereby made declaring the unauthorised deductions from the 1st applicant’s USD account, 2nd applicant’s USD account, and 3rd applicant’s USD account as illegal and void. An order of this Honourable Court is hereby made directing the respondent to revert the applicants’ accounts back to status quo as of 17th January 2022,” the court further ruled..

The businesswomen detailed how their USD (U.S. dollar), euro, and naira accounts were frozen by the bank without a valid court order in an application filed under Order 1 Rule 2 of the Magistrates’ Courts Civil Procedure Rules of Lagos State (2009).

The complainants accused the bank of making unlawful deductions from their accounts with no justification whatsoever, adding that they were never accused of engaging in fraudulent activity with the said accounts.

The first petitioner, Ms Orogun, who had USD, euro, and naira accounts with Polaris Bank, stated in her affidavit in support of the application that the bank normally deducted the required commission after every transaction she made.

“I regularly transact on my euro account with the bank. I recently wanted to transfer money with my Euro account, only to discover that I no longer have access to make any transaction,” Ms Orogun said.

Narrating further, the first applicant said that she discovered that there was no available balance left in her USD account.

On reaching the bank, Ms Orogun said she was informed that they had not been deducting the required commission per transaction on her account, which resulted in her USD account being emptied.

She said that she was neither informed nor given a satisfactory reason for the cruel act by the respondent, adding that the bank’s move to freeze her account was unnecessary as she has never accused her of engaging in fraudulent activities.

She said the actions of the respondent greatly disrupted her business activities and also subjected her to financial cruelty with no hope as to when her accounts would be unfrozen.

The other applicants likewise testified in affidavits containing similar facts.

The bank, on the other hand, did not appear or submit any evidence to refute the petitioners’ claim.

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