An Ibadan-based school proprietor, Lewis Olayinka Phillips, trading under the name of The Concord School, Ibadan, has filed a N5million naira damage suit before a Oyo State High Court, sitting at Ring Road, Ibadan, against First Bank Nigeria Plc over what he termed damages for breach of contract, breach of duty of care and financial embarrassment caused by the bank’s wrongful act.
In the suit delineated I/619/15, he is also asking Justice M.O. Olusegun of Court 8, to give an order compelling First Bank to refund the sum of twenty-one million, eight hundred and three thousand, three hundred and twenty-seven naira (N21, 803, 327) being money he paid to the bank as interest and charges on loan for the failure of consideration.
The plaintiff is also praying the court for a declaration that the sum of one million, six hundred and ninety-three thousand (N1,693,000.00) be regarded as the money paid to perfect the mortgage in respect of the loan which is the subject matter of the suit and an additional N600,000 as cost of the legal action.
The proprietor, in his statement of claim, had averred that he was sometime ago offered a landed property in the sum of N75milliom out of which he paid N20m and then approached the First Bank for mortgage finance.
The plaintiff added that the land vendor however upgraded the fee to N120million and refused to collect N55million as balance.
According to him, though the vendor had already put him in possession of the property, he opted to leave the money in the same account to which it was disbursed as fixed deposit to enable him to pay to the vendor when the price issue was resolved.
He averred further that he filed a suit against the vendor and was updating the bank about every development, adding that the bank was routinely collecting interest on the loan to the tune of N21, 803, 327.
The proprietor further explained that in order for the loan to serve the interest for which it was granted, he paid interest and charges on it without touching the money.
He alleged that the bank, however, cancelled the loan facility on the ground that he did not furnish it with the title deeds to the landed property when it already knew that the matter was still at litigation as the bank was given status reports regularly.
He also asked for the declaration of the court that the bank granted the loan of N70m and collected interest and charges on same and that the purported termination of his loan already paid into his account is illegal and a breach of contract among other declarations.
In its defence, First Bank admitted that the proprietor is their customer and they knew he couldn’t get deeds to the landed property due to the recalcitrant nature of the vendor.
It also agreed that it cancelled the loan and refused to reinstate same.
The bank, however, denied every other averment made by the proprietor against it.
The bank further argued that the interest computation being alleged by the proprietor were only computed against his account in line with the agreement between the parties as clearly highlighted in the stipulated terms and conditions of the bank.
The case has been adjourned till June 27, 2016, for a pre-trial conference.