Three customers of a leading commercial bank, Polaris Bank Plc have dragged the financial institution before a Magistrate Court sitting in Surulere, Lagos for alleged illegal deductions to the tune of Thirty Thousand, Seven Hundred and Sixty-Nine Dollars ($30,769) only and freezing of their domiciliary and Naira accounts with the bank
Mrs Adebomi Orogun, Mrs Kehinde Banjo, and Mrs Oluwatoyin Ode in an originating summons brought pursuant to Order 1 Rule 2 of the Magistrates’ Courts Civil Procedure Rules of Lagos State (2009), accused the bank of freezing their United States Dollar, Euro and Naira account with the bank without a valid court order.
They averred that the bank proceeded to make unauthorised deductions from their accounts without any justification whatsoever as they were at no time ever accused of engaging in fraudulent activities with the said accounts.
In an affidavit in support of the application, the first applicant (Orogun), who maintained United States Dollars, Euro and Naira accounts with Polaris Bank, said the bank usually deducts the requisite commission after every transaction.
“I regularly transact on my Euro account (3049994742) 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.
“I also discovered that there was no available balance left in my United States Dollar account. I was confused and had to inquire with the bank to know the reason why I no longer have access to my Euro account and why my United State Dollar account was cleared out. However, I was informed by the bank that they had not been deducting the proper commission per transaction on my account which they only commenced later and ultimately led to my United States Dollar account being cleared out.
“This action carried out by the bank was done entirely without recourse to me, who believed that all due commissions had been deducted and I had enough balance to plan my life with. On the 4th of March, 2022, I was shocked to discover that all my accounts (USD, EURO and Naira) with the respondent (Polaris Bank) had been frozen and a post no debit order was placed on them.”
Orogun said she was neither informed nor given a satisfactory reason for what she described as a cruel act by the respondent, adding: “I did not engage in any fraudulent activity nor have I been officially accused of the same by the bank. Hence, the freezing and placing of a post no debit on my accounts was totally unnecessary.”
She said the actions of Polaris Bank Plc greatly disrupted her business activities and also subjected her to financial cruelty with no hope as to when her accounts would be unfrozen.
“The actions of the respondent have also caused financial distress due to my inability to complete pending transactions,” she averred.
The two other applicants deposed to similar facts in their affidavit in support of the application, narrating to the court how the alleged cruel act of the bank had caused them great discomfort and economic setback.
They said they had written to the bank to unfreeze their accounts and return the illegal deductions made, all to no avail, a development that necessitated the filing of the matter before the court.
The applicants are, therefore, praying for an order directing the bank to revert their accounts to the status quo as of 17th January 2022.
They are also asking for an order mandating Polaris Bank to pay them N10 Million as damages for the financial hardship caused to them by the actions of the bank.
When the matter came up before the Surulere Magistrate Court on Wednesday, the court said there was no proof that the respondent had been served. The matter was thereafter adjourned till 6th June 2022.