The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) sitting in Abuja has asked Stanbic-IBTC Bank to pay a fine of N120 million over failure to reverse failed transaction of one of its customer, Clement Osuya,
The Tribunal also ordered the bank to pay the sum of N1 million as cost of filing the action to Osuya.
The tribunal gave the order that the bank contravened the provisions of Section 130(1)(a) of the FCCP Act, 2018 and Section 5(2)(8) and (9) of the Central Bank of Nigeria Regulation on Instant Interbank Electronic Transfers with failure to reverse the failed transaction within 10 minutes in a split decision of two to one.
The tribunal said 10 minutes or at most one hour was the mandatory timeline for failed transfers to be reversed as provided by Sections 154 and 155 of the FCCP Act, 2018.
In the lead judgment delivered by Hon. Sola Salako-Ajulo, the tribunal said “In as much as the defendant (Stanbic-IBTC) failed to comply with the two instructions of the claimant to transfer the sums of N500,000 to another account in Access Bank, as no transfer took place at both times, defines that the defendant breached the banker-customer contractual relationship between the two parties.”
The tribunal, however , refused to award the sum of N5 million to Osuya as compensation on the grounds that he failed to prove any injury he suffered as a result of the failure of service delivery by the bank.
Hon. Ibrahim Yakubu concurred with the verdict of Salako-Ajulo while the presiding judge, Hon. Chuma Mbonu disagreed and gave a minority judgment.
Mbonu in his minority judgment held that the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the petition.
According to him, the tribunal has the powers of appellate jurisdiction and not of original jurisdiction and he consequently struck the suit out for lacking in merit.
Osuya had filed a petition against the bank challenging the failure of the bank on two occasions to transfer the sum of N500,000 from his Stanbic- IBTC account to his Access bank account.
He claimed that the money was for the payment of school fees for his children.
He told the tribunal that on Sept. 8, 2022, he filled out a form under NIS Instant Payment option for a transfer of the sum of N500, 000 to his Access Bank account.
He held that whereas the money, on both occasions left his IBTC account as the account was debited, it never arrived his Access bank account because it was not credited.
Osuya told the tribunal that reversal on the first transaction was done after 24 hours while that of the second transaction was reversed after 72 hours.
He further alleged that this neglect of duty of care by the bank caused him trauma, embarrassment and a dent in his reputation as he was forced to collect a loan.
The bank, through its counsel, Mr Marcel Osigbemhe had blamed the failure of the transaction on the third-party NIPS service.
Osigbemhe,in a brief remark expressed his displeasure over the judgment, saying he wondered how his client could be convicted when there were clearly no charges brought against it.
Counsel to the claimant, Ms Deborah Solomon, for her part thanked the Tribunal for the well considered judgment.
NAN reports that the fine is to be paid into the tribunal’s remitta account. (NAN)