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N25bn capitalisation: Bank takes over customer’s residence illegally

Posted by by Kayode Ketefe on 2004/08/23 | Views: 2018 |

N25bn capitalisation: Bank takes over customer’s residence illegally


APPARENTLY in a move to cope with the pressure generated by the new N25 billion capital base, a commercial bank (name withheld) has allegedly adopted an unconventional method of debt recovery when it deployed its staff to take over the premises of a customer without court order.

APPARENTLY in a move to cope with the pressure generated by the new N25 billion capital base, a commercial bank (name withheld) has allegedly adopted an unconventional method of debt recovery when it deployed its staff to take over the premises of a customer without court order.

This allegation was made in a suit instituted against the bank by the Chief Executive Officer of Fish Marine and Engineering Services Limited, Mr. Joseph Penawou, which was owing the bank an alleged N52 million.

In his written statement on oath dated August 18, 2004, Penawou said that officers of the bank on August 10 in a convoy of 11 cars, stormed his home at No. 8A, Oko Awo Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, and in his absence damaged the gate, beat up the security guard, forcibly gained entry into the house and drove out the occupants.

Penawou added that the agents of the bank ransacked the house and left after padlocking the gate, only to come back at 5pm on the same day and repeated the same process of harassment and vandalisation.

Matter, however, came to a head on Friday, August 13, 2004 when, according to Penawou, the employees of the bank stormed his house again.

“About 10am on Friday, August 13, 2004. I got a phone call from my brother, Mr. Solomon Penawou, that the employees of the 1st Defendant (the Bank) had again invaded my residence ... and apart from harassing the occupants, they were forcefully taking possession of the house, they abducted my security guard and my younger brother, Solomon.”

“My lawyer, Mr. Suokere Adekunle Agidee, arrived with some policemen only to be assaulted by some of the men present as he tried to confer with me.

“I was then locked up in my bedroom along with some of the bank employees until Mr. Yemi Akerele and some other policemen arrived following which I was taken to Panti police station in Yaba.”

Agridee, Penowou’s lawyer, who corroborated all the above in his own written statement on oath, dated August 18, 2004, has, however, written petitions to the Lagos State Commissioner of Police and the Banker Sub-committee on Ethics and Professionalism of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

In the letter to the committee dated August 13, 2004, titled, “Criminal violation of banker’s customer relationship” Agidee urged the committee to take necessary action on the matter.

“Sir, we do not believe that there can be any reason under the sun to justify such flagrant disregard of the laws of the country and exercise of lawlessness by the bank.

“...we would be most grateful if you look into this matter and kindly ensure that our clients get redress for these wrongs. Agidee had written.

The Bank has entered conditional appearance dated August 17, 2004, but is yet to join issues on the matter by filling other processes.

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