The Accra High Court Division 4, presided over by Her Ladyship Olivia Obeng Owusu, has in a landmark ruling, ordered the FBN Bank to refund an amount of USD$65,850 stolen from its client, Alfa Enterprise’s account.
Narrating the basis for the court action, the plaintiff (Alfa Enterprise) stated that it opened a business account with the Defendant (FBN Bank) in 1998. Between June and October 1998, a number of deposits were made into the said account, which collectively summed up to USD$65,850.
According to the plaintiff, no withdrawals were effected from the said account nor was any authorisation for same given. Subsequent enquiries from Defendant (FBN Bank) on the status of the account, however, revealed that the enterprise’s funds had been used by Defendant for outward settlements.
Plaintiff therefore, filed a Writ of Summons on July 7th, 2015, seeking a recovery of USD$65,850 from the Defendant being the amount held by Defendant on behalf of Plaintiff with Interest to be compounded on the sum from October 1998 to the date of final payment, as well as general damages for loss suffered by the Plaintiff from the use of the said USD$65,850 and costs for both the court action and solicitor’s cost of recovery.
Defendant (FBN Bank) in its response, denied all the material averments made by Plaintiff and insisted that the said USD 65,850 deposited by Plaintiff was used for outward payments for and on behalf of Plaintiff, and indicated that Plaintiff authorised such payments. It, however, failed to adduce the necessary documentary evidence in court to support the said settlements.
Giving her ruling on Thursday, December 22, 2022, Her Ladyship Olivia Obeng Owusu entered judgement in favour of the Plaintiff (Alfa Enterprise), for the recovery of the said amount in its Cedi equivalent with accompanying interest to be compounded from October 1998 till the date of final payment.
The court further awarded subsequent costs of Five Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHȻ5,000.00) as General damages as well as Fifteen Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHȻ15,000.00) against the Defendant.
See below, the full details of the case and the subsequent ruling:
FBN Bank was ordered by the High Court to refund monies mysteriously taken from the client’s account.
- That the General Jurisdiction 4 Division of the High Court on Thursday 22nd December 2022 delivered its judgment in a landmark case involving a customer of the Bank – ALFA ENTERPRISE represented by Mr Godwin Korshie Anagbo and the FBN Bank. The Court presided over by Her Ladyship Olivia Obeng Owusu (Mrs) J, entered judgment in favour of the customer (plaintiff) to recover from the Bank (Defendant) the sum of USD$65,850 or its GHS Cedi Equivalent and also Interest to be assessed on the said sum from October 1998 to date of final payment in addition to Cost of Five Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHȻ5,000.00) awarded against the Defendant as General damages and Cost of Fifteen Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHȻ15,000.00) awarded against the Defendant.
- By a Writ of Summons filed on 7-7-2015, Plaintiff (ALFA ENTERPRISE represented by Mr Godwin Korshie Anagbo) claimed against the defendant the endorsements as follows:
- An Order to account for the USD$65,850 deposited in the Plaintiff’s Account
AND IN THE ALTERNATIVE
- Recovery of USD$65,850 from the Defendant being the amount held by the Defendant on behalf of the Plaintiff in Account No. 200XXXXXXXX.
- Interest on the sum from October 1998 to the date of final payment.
- General damages for loss suffered by Plaintiff from the use of the said USD$65,850.
- Cost for bringing this action including solicitor’s cost on full recovery basis.
- Briefly put, Plaintiff states that he opened a business bank account with Defendant in 1998, thus account number 200XXXXXXXX (previously 200XXXXXXXXXX). That between June and October 1998, he made a number of deposits which sum up to a total of USD$65,850. The Plaintiff claims that he never made any withdrawals from the said account but when he enquired from the Defendants later on the status of the account, he was told that the bank has used the said funds for outward settlements. A response the defendant failed to support with the relevant and necessary documentary evidence.
- It is Plaintiff’s case that he never authorised any such outward payments. He stated that the defendant at a point alleged that they used the said funds to pay partly the loan of the Plaintiff per their right of set-off under the said loan agreement but the defendant could not sustain that allegation too with any documentary instruments (known in banking as debit advice). This was what provoked the instant suit.
- Defendant by their Statement of Defence denied all material averments by Plaintiff and insisted that the USD$65,850 deposited by Plaintiff was used for outward payments for and on behalf of Plaintiff, that Plaintiff authorised such payments.
TRIAL & JUDGMENT
- After several years of litigation, the judgment was by Her Ladyship Justice Olivia Obeng Owusu, sitting at High Court, General Jurisdiction 3, in favour of the Plaintiff as follows;
- That Plaintiff recovers from Defendant the sum of USD 65,850 or its GHS Cedi Equivalent.
- Interest is to be assessed on the said sum from October 1998 to the date of final payment.
- Cost of Five Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHȻ5,000.00) awarded against the Defendant as General damages.
- Cost of Fifteen Thousand Ghana Cedis (GHȻ15,000.00) awarded against Defendant.
DRAMA IN COURT (Thursday 27th April, 2023)
- After judgment, the plaintiff/judgment creditor filed Entry and Judgment in an attempt to enforce the same but Defendant quickly filed a Notice of Appeal with Stay of Execution.
- That the return date for the Stay of Execution was 16th March 2023 but unfortunately, counsel for Defendant/Applicant was not in jurisdiction and also there was no proof of service of the Plaintiff/Respondent’s Affidavit in Opposition to the Stay of Execution so the matter was adjourned to Thursday 27th April 2023.
- There was however drama when the case was called on Thursday 27th Counsel for Defendant/Applicant (Kwadwo Addeah-Safo Esq) told the Court that at the last sitting when he was not around, counsel for the Plaintiff/Respondent (Livingstone Ameevor Esq) made some remarks about him to the effect that (defendant/applicant) were served with the Affidavit in Opposition to the Stay of Execution when in fact, they were not served. Kwadwo Addeah-Safo Esq’s submission was laced with emotions and sentiments that he demanded an apology from his Counterpart else he was going to report him to the General Legal Council. It turned out that a day before they appeared in Court, Counsel for Plaintiff/Respondent (Livingstone Ameevor Esq) had seen his colleague (Kwadwo Addeah-Safo Esq) around the Supreme Court car park area and approached him to enquire if he was aware of their court date and also confirm if he would be available. Unknowing to him, Mr Addeah-Safo was crossed with him so when he asked him, he shouted at Mr Ameevor “Foolish man, get away from me”.
- Unfortunately, Kwadwo Addeah-Safo Esq did not take kindly to his conduct the previous day being recorded so he tried to disrupt the proceeding despite every attempt from the Judge presiding to have an order in court compelling the Judge to abruptly truncate proceedings and rush to the chamber.