FCMB ordered to pay Magu’s pastor N540m for defamation

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Justice Yusuf Halilu of the High Court of the FCT has awarded N540.5 million in damages against First City Monument Bank (FCMB) for defaming the character of Founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, Emmanuel Omale.

The Abuja-based pastor had in September 2020 sued the bank for breaching banker-client and falsely alerting the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) of a suspicious credit inflow.

Based on a resultant NFIU report, the Presidential Committee on Audit of Recovered Assets (PCARA) alleged that a former Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Ibrahim Magu, used Omale to launder funds abroad.

Omale vehemently denied the allegation and alongside his wife, Deborah, and church, sued the bank.

The suit marked FCT/HC/CV2541/2020 was filed by Gordy Uche SAN.

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Delivering judgement on Wednesday, Justice Halilu ruled that the bank breached its duty of care to the plaintiffs.

The court ruled that evidence before it showed that the bank had acknowledged making a mistake in its account entry report to the NFIU.

It further held that the bank claimed that its reporting system had incorrectly shown the alleged N573m as a credit entry in the church’s account.

Justice Halilu held that FCMB’s negligence had caused Omale, his wife and church irreparable reputational damage home and abroad.

The judge granted the claimants N200 million in general damages, N140.5 million in special damages, and N200 million in aggravated damages.

 

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