A federal High Court in Port Harcourt has adjourned for hearing the case filed by Mr Steve Elijah against the Central Bank of Nigeria, Access Bank PLC and Eco Bank Nigeria PLC.
Mr Elijah is challenging the three percent and two percent charges directives by CBN for cash withdrawal and cash deposit into his bank accounts.
The Plaintiff had approached the court to place an order restraining the Defendants, their Agents, offices from enforcing and deducting fees at the rate of three per cent for any cash withdrawal above five hundred thousand naira and two per cent for any cash lodgement into the Plantiff bank account.
The Plaintiff in suit number FHC/PH/CS/211/2019 is praying the court to determine whether the powers and functions of the 1st Defendant under section 2 of the Central Bank of Nigeria Act 2007 and section 1 of the Financial Institution Act CAP B3 LFN 2004 extend to the 1st Defendant mandating and directing 2nd and 3rd Defendant to impose and collect punitive charges.
The plaintiff is also praying the court to determine whether the 1st Defendant can validly mandate or direct the 2nd and 3rd Defendants and other deposit money banks to charge customers punitive fees for processing of withdrawals at the determinate rate of three (3%) percent for any cash withdrawal above five hundred thousand (500, 000.00) naira individual accounts, five (5%) percent for any cash withdrawal above three million (3,000,000.00) naira for corporate accounts and processing of lodgement at the determinate rate of two (2%) percent for any cash lodgement above five hundred thousand (500,000.00) naira individual accounts and three percent (3%) for cash lodgement above three million (3,000,000.00) naira for corporate accounts.
During the court proceeding, Counsel to the Plantiff filed an application urging the court for more time to respond to the motions served on him by the 1st Defendant, which the court granted.
Counsel to the 2nd Defendant also filed an application asking for extension of time to file motion on notice and be able to file a written address to support their motion.
The presiding Judge, Justice Isaq Mohammed Sani, after listening to counsels in the matter, adjourned to 5th February 2020, for originating summons.
Speaking to our reporter Tina Amanda, Asuk Ikpoko, Counsel to the Plantiff, said CBN does not have powers to direct Banks to deduct percentage from customers, adding that CBN as third party is not privi to the contract between customers and bank institutions.
“We are not contesting the fact that CBN has the powers under the CBN Act and other financial institution Banks, but we are saying that the powers of CBN to regulate banks is regulated by law and CBN cannot act ultra viries and go above the power stipulated by law”
On his part, Augustine Okafor, Counsel to CBN, said they are waiting for the Plantiff to respond to their motion.