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Zenith Bank has landed itself in a N1billion damages payment over unlawful freezing of customers account without valid court order.
Justice Rasul Oriyomi Olukolu of the Lagos State High Court ordered Zenith Bank Plc to pay the sum of one billion naira as damages for restricting its customer’s bank account without a valid and subsisting court order authorizing such.
The judge gave the verdict while ruling on a suit instituted against the bank by its customer, Hajia Sa’daatu Ramallan-Yaro.
The court in its judgment held that the claimant, Hajia Yaro commenced the suit with an Originating Summons dated January 16, 2023, but filed on 17th January, 2019.
In the suit, the claimant prayed the court to determine whether given the respective holdings and the decisions of the Court of Appeal it declared unlawful for banks to unilaterally or in conjunction with any authority or law enforcement agency freeze or restricted their customers’ bank accounts without a valid and subsisting court order authorizing such freezing or restrictions.
Whether the defendant, Zenith Bank Plc can unilaterally, freeze or restrict the accounts of the claimant.
Delivering judgment, Justice Olukolu declared that the freezing of, and restriction placed on the claimant’s account by the defendant before a valid and subsisting court order is illegal and unlawful.
The judge subsequently directed Zenith Bank to immediately unfreeze and remove any restriction placed on the claimant’s account number 2282692638.
“Interest of ten percent (10%) per annum on the entire sum in the claimant account from the date of judgment in this suit until the restriction placed on the claimant’s account is removed is hereby refused.
“Cost of this action for Fifteen Million Naira (N15,000,000) is hereby granted, having been proved via the affidavit evidence and exhibit ‘D’ attached to the application is hereby granted”.
“Exemplary damages in the sum of N1, 000,000,000.00 (One Billion Naira) against the defendant is hereby granted.