The Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal in Abuja has imposed N120 million fine against the Stanbic IBTC Bank to be paid into the tribunal’s account over the failure to make a transfer for a customer.
In a split decision of the tribunal of two to one, the panel convicted the bank for contravening 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 for failing to comply with 10 minutes mandatory timeline for transfers as guided by sections 154 and 155 of the FCCP Act.
The leading judgement delivered by Honourable Sola Salako Ajulo, also ordered the payment of N5 million damages and N1 million cost of filing the petition to the claimant after the tribunal found that he was not entitled to the N3 million compensation he demanded having failed to prove any injury he suffered as a result of the services of the bank.
The verdict was concurred to by Honourable Ibrahim Yakubu of the tribunal, while the presiding judge, Honourable Chuma Mbonu dissented.
The orders followed a petition by a customer, Clement Osuya, challenging the failure of the bank on two occasions to transfer the sum of N500,000 from his IBTC account to another of his account with the Access Bank, which he claimed was for the payment of school fees for his children.
According to him on September 8, 2022 in Abuja he filled out a form under NIPS Instant Payment option for a transfer of the sum of N500, 000 to his Access Bank account which was not delivered after he was debited, which forced him to visit the bank on September 9, 2022 for a reversal, after which he again instructed that the transfer, which was not also delivered after he was debited.
The bank, through its counsel, Marcel Osigbemhe Esq, had blamed the failure of the transaction to the third-party NIPS service, which the tribunal rejected.
“The tribunal holds that inasmuch as the defendant (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. This issue is resolved in favour of the claimant,” Ajulo said.
However, in his dissenting judgement, Mbonu held that the preliminary objection of the IBTC was meritorious as the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the claim as it was not a regular court as described under Section 146 of the FCCP Act, and that its powers rests on the appellate level of the Commission’s complaints’ investigation.