His Lordship, Hon. Justice Ikechi Nweneka of the National Industrial Court Lagos judicial division has ordered ex-banker Victoria to pay Keystone Bank the sum of N2, 176,257.04 being the amount indebtedness on the loan facilities granted to her with 10% interest rate per annum from the date of the judgment until fully liquidated.
The Court held that the custom or practice which entitles banks to charge interest on ex-staff loans was neither pleaded nor proved and it is not the practice of the Court to speculate on the applicable rate of interest.
From fact, Keystone Bank claimed that her outstanding indebtedness was
N2, 664, 493.73 with 19% interest rate per annum from 1st April 2016 until judgment and at the same rate until final liquidation of the entire debt which evidence has not been challenged or denied.
Learned counsel further submitted that keystone bank is a commercial bank and the law allows commercial banks to charge interest on loans to customers or staff.
However, the Defendant did not file any statement of defence and did not take part in the trial in spite of service of hearing notices on her.
Delivering the judgment, the trial judge Justice Nweneka held that the amount proved as owed by the Defendant was N2, 176,257.04 notwithstanding that the evidence of the Claimant’s witness was unchallenged.
“While it is true that the Claimant is a commercial bank and as such entitled to charge interest on facilities granted to its customers, the claim before this Court is not strictly one of banker and customer; but a claim for recovery of ex-staff loans.” Justice Nweneka ruled
The court also awarded the sum of N50,000.00 cost of action in favour of Keystone Bank.