Oil Deal: APC Chieftain Sues First Bank Over Breach Of Pact

By Tunde Opeseitan,  Lagos

A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Lagos State, Alhaja Fatima Balogun, has dragged First Bank before a Lagos High Court in Ikeja over alleged breach of agreement and negligent conduct, which allegedly resulted in monumental economic loss.

Balogun, a former women Leader of the party, had filed the suit through her company, Oye Balogun Enterprises, alleging gross negligible acts against First Bank in respect of payment for an oil deal.

According to the suit filed on behalf of the claimant (Balogun) by her lawyer, Olajide Ajana, it was averred that the bank on May 4 was instructed to transfer the sum of N2,256, 780.00 to the Wema Bank account of the Ejigbo Depot of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) for purchase of premium motor spirit (PMS).

First Bank, through its Abule-Egba branch in Lagos, was instructed via a financial advice form to carry out the transaction from Balogun’s account domiciled with the bank.

The transaction, which was accompanied by a cheque, was with reference number PPMC/LSD/CCM/003803.

However, contrary to the instruction that the said fund should be transferred to the Wema Bank account of NNPC Ejigbo Depot as contained in the financial advice form, Balogun alleged that First Bank instead transferred the fund to the First Bank account of NNPC Mosimi Area.

She added that the development was clearly an act of negligence because the bank used its discretion to transfer the fund to an account domiciled in its other branch, without being asked to do so by her.

Balogun added that she was embarrassed on May 5 when her staff were turned down by NNPC Ejigbo Depot at the point of lifting the product on account of non-payment for the said petroleum product.

The claimant added that she immediately contacted the Abule-Egba branch of First Bank and demanded that the situation should be rectified, but to her surprise, the bank did not.

At this point, the claimant said when it was clear that the bank was not ready to act swiftly, she had to borrow money from another source to pay for another product, and to further compound the matter, the claimant lamented that by the time she got another fund and transferred the money to NNPC Ejigbo Depot on May 7 she still could not lift the product as the depot had gone on strike.

She added that her inability to lift the product already allocated to her in the first place was due to the negligence of First Bank, and the same resulted in loss of profit which she could have made on the product, coupled with the fact that she had to pay interest on the other fund she borrowed later to pay for the product.

She also said she lost other profit she could have made on the product as at the time of the transaction, which was a period of nationwide scarcity of petroleum product.

On May 22, the claimant wrote another letter to the bank after waiting endlessly for the initial error to be rectified, and that despite paying again for the product; she could not lift the product until May 26.

The claimant is, therefore, asking the court to mandate the bank to pay her N2.0 million damages for the profit which she could have made on the product and N1.5 million as interest on the alternative fund sourced to trade and another N500,000 as legal fees.

The claimant also wants interest of 15 per cent per annum on the funds.

Source : Independent

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