The Imo State High Court has awarded N10million damages to a businessman, Kingsley Unegbu, against the First City Monument Bank for putting a wrong picture on his debit card.
Delivering judgement on Wednesday on the case that had lasted for nine years, the trial judge, Justice I.G Chukwunyere, lambasted the bank for challenging a document issued by it and yet refusing to rectify the error after a complaint was made to that effect.
The court ruled that the plaintiff timely reported the picture mismatch on his Mastercard to the defendant (FCMB), which the defendant accepted but failed to rectify.
It held that the defendant having willfully refused to correct its error was liable and subsequently ordered to pay the sum of N10million as general damages only.
Recall that Unegbu dragged the FCMB to court in 2013 after the bank put another person’s passport on his Mastercard, a mistake that caused him to lose his business.
Unegbu, had told the court how the mistake by the bank led to not only the closure of his business but also impoverishing him after he went bankrupt.
“The master card picture mismatch was discovered by my business associates in the US and they thereafter stopped transacting business with me and flagged me as a credit card fraudster.
“All my foreign business transactions have been halted as a result of this mistake from FCMB by putting another person’s image on my account and I have incurred a loss of over $500,000,” he said.
He had in his pleading sought before the court demanded that the bank pay him N100m as compensation but the bank ignored his request forcing him to institute a legal proceeding at the Imo State High Court in 2013 seeking relief from the bank.
Addressing journalists shortly after the judgement, Unegbu commended the judge but expressed dissatisfaction with the cost of damages awarded to him, adding “it is not commensurate with my losses.”
He said, “The court awarded N10million as damages but it cannot be equated with the loss I have inquired for the 12 years I have been out of business.
“I have spent more than N10million pursuing this case. However, I am thankful for winning the case against the bank,” Unegbu said.
He noted that he would be approaching the appeal court to seek a higher review of the damages awarded by the court.