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A fine of N120 million has been slammed on Stanbic-IBTC Bank by the Competition and Consumer Protection Tribunal (CCPT) sitting in Abuja over two failed transactions by the bank.

In his narration to the tribunal, the claimant, Osuye, said on two occasions, one on September 8, 2022, he filled out a form under the NIS Instant Payment option for a transfer of the sum of N500,000 to his Access Bank account, but on both instances, while the money was debited from his IBTC account, his Access account wasn’t credited.

According to him, in the first instance, the money was reversed back into his IBTC account within 24 hours, while on the second occasion, it was changed after 72 hours.

Osuye, however, holds that due to the failed transactions by the bank, of which the money was meant for his children’s school fees, he was traumatised, embarrassed, humiliated, and was forced to access a loan to offset the fees.

The tribunal’s judgment of two to one slammed a fine of N120 million on Stanbic-IBTC Bank—the money to be paid into the tribunal’s remitta account.

The lead judgment delivered by Hon. Sola Salako-Ajulo also ordered the bank to pay the claimant, Mr. Clement Osuya, the sum of N1 million as the cost of filing the action.

Reading out its judgment, the tribunal 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.

The tribunal said the fine was imposed due to the bank’s failure to comply with the 10 minutes or, at most, a one-hour mandatory timeline for failed transfers to be reversed as provided by Sections 154 and 155 of the FCCP Act, 2018.

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Salako-Ajulo said, “The tribunal holds that in as much 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.”

However, the tribunal refused to award the sum of N5 million to Osuya as compensation because he failed to prove any injury he suffered as a result of the failure of service delivery by the bank.

Meanwhile, while Hon. Ibrahim Yakubu agreed with the verdict of Salako-Ajulo, the tribunal’s presiding judge, Hon. Chuma Mbonu, disagreed and gave a minority judgment.

The presiding judge, in his minority judgment, held that the tribunal lacked the jurisdiction to entertain the petition; instead, it has the powers of appellate jurisdiction and not of original jurisdiction. Therefore dismissed, the suit for lacking merit.

While counsel to the claimant, Ms. Deborah Solomon, applauded the tribunal for the well-served judgment, counsel to Stanbic-IBTC Bank, Marcel Osigbemhe, asked how his client could be convicted when no charges were brought against it.

Osigbemhe, who was not happy about the judgment, blamed the failure of the transaction on the third-party NIPS service.

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