LAGOS, Nigeria – Justice Peter Lifu (JP) of a Federal High Court sitting in Lagos has granted an order freezing some accounts in about 54 financial institutions in the country where alleged funds from Interswitch accounts were moved to various accounts domiciled in the named banks.
Some of the banks affected by the freezing order are Access Bank PLC, GTBank PLC, First Bank of Nigeria , Fidelity Bank PLC, Globus Bank, Providus Bank, Keystone Bank, FCMB, Sterling Bank, SunTrust Bank, Ecobank, among other financial institutions in the country.
The freezing order was sequel to an ex-parte application filed by counsel to Interswitch Nigeria Limited, Mr E.A Okorie seeking the order of court directing the banks and other financial institutions to freeze, place a lien or post no debit on some accounts domiciled in these institutions.
The plaintiff, Interswitch, is seeking the freezing order so as to prevent the dissipation of a huge amount of money that was illegally moved from its account into various accounts in the different financial institutions due to a glitch in its server.
In particular, the applicant is seeking the order of the court freezing the accounts of EARTHOLEUM NETWORKS LIMITED to the extent of the sums illegally received following the system glitch in the Plaintiffs server into the accounts of the 8th defendant, EARTHOLEUM NETWORKS LIMITED.
The plaintiff prayed the court for an order of Interim Mareva Injunction mandating all the defendants to comply with the Central Bank Guidelines No. BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/004 of 2015 and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Regulatory Framework for Banking Verification (BVN) Operations and Watchlist for the Nigerian Banking Industry, October 2017 by blocking, freezing, placing a lien and/or placing a “Post No Debit” restriction on the affected accounts domiciled with the aforementioned banks and other financial institutions pending the determination of the substantive suit.
Interswitch Nigeria Limited further sought for an order of interim mareva injunction mandating the respondents to Freeze, place a Lien and Post No Debit on any and all accounts belonging to and in the name of the 8th Defendant EARTHOLEUM NETWORKS LIMITED to the extent of the sums illegally received (following the system glitch in the Plaintiffs server) into the said accounts pending the hearing of the substantive application.
The plaintiff also asked the court for an order directing the defendants to disclose on oath to the court within 7 days of service of the order of court, the amounts standing in credit in the respective accounts of the 1st to 54th Defendants’ customers accounts domiciled with them from 19th of October 2023 to date.
AN ORDER directing the respondents to disclose on cath to this honourable Court within 7 days of service of the order of court, the details of the amounts standing as credit balance in the respective beneficiaries accounts of the 1st, 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 41st and 48th defendants’ customers/Account holders listed in a document marked EXHIBIT C attached herewith and domiciled with the 1st, 9th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 41st and 48th defendants from the 9th of May 2022 to date.
After listening to the plaintiff counsel E. A. Okorie , the trial Judge, Justice Peter Lifu (JP) granted an order mandating the defendants to comply with the Central Bank Guidelines No. BPS/DIR/GEN/CIR/02/004 of 2015 and the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Regulatory Framework for Banking Verification (BVN) Operations and Watchlist for the Nigerian Banking Industry, October 2017 by blocking, freezing, placing a lien and/or placing a “Post No Debit” restriction on the affected accounts aforesaid to the extent of the sums illegally received (following the system glitch in the Plaintiffs server) into the respective Bank accounts of several customers who are listed in a document attached to the court papers marked ‘ Exhibits A’ pending the determination of the substantive suit.
The defendants in the suit are:
ACCESS BANK PLC, BAINES CREDIT MICROFINANCE BANK LTD, BANK OF INDUSTRY, BLURIDGE MICROFINANCE BANK, BRANCH INTERNATIONAL FINANCIAL SERVICE, CREDIT DIRECT LIMITED, ECOBANK PLC, EARTHOLFUM NETWORKS, FAIRMONEY MICROFINANCE BANK, FEWCHORE FINANCE COMPANY LTD, FIDELITY BANK PLC, FIRST CITY MONUMENT BANK PLC, FIRST BANK OF NIGERIA LIMITED, GLOBUS BANK PLC, GUARANTY TRUST BANK PLC, HASAL MICROFINANCE BANK LTD, HERITAGE BANK PLC, INFINITY TRUST MORTGAGE, IZON MICROFINANCE BANK LTD, JAIZ BANK PLC, KEYSTONE BANK PLC,
KUDA MICROFINANCE BANK LTD, DE -L.A FAYETTEE MICROFINANCE BANK LTD , L APO MICROFINANCE BANK, LINKS MICROFINANCE BANK, LOTUS BANK PLC, MIM FINANCE COMPANY LTD, NEW EDGE FINANCE, NIGERIAN NAVY MICROFINANCE BANK, NIRSAL MICROFINANCE BANK, OPAY DIGITAL SERVICES, PAGATECH LIMITED, PALMPAY LIMITED, PARALIEX BANK PLC, POLARIS BANK PLC, PROVIDES BANK PLC, Ceremony MICROFINANCE BANK LIMITED, ROLFZ MICROFINANCE BANK LIMITED, SMART CASH PAYMENT SERVICES BANK LIMITED, SPARKLE MICROFINANCE BANK LIMITED, STANBIC IBTC BANK PLC, STANDARD CHARTERED BANK PLC, STERLING BANK PLC, SUNTRUST BANK PLC, TAJ BANK LIMITED, TANGERINE MONEY MICROFINANCE BANK, TOL CHIGOLD MICROFINANCE BANK LTD, UNION BANK OF NIGERIA PLC, UNITED BANK FOR AFRICA PLC, UNITY BANK PLC, VALE FINANCE LIMITED, VFD MICROFINANCE BANK, WEMA BANK PLC and ZENITH BANK PLC.