The Fast Track High Court last Thursday ordered the Bank to pay $14 million to the businessman for wrongfully refusing to honour cheques issued by him.
Nii Okai Nunoo, Area Head, Corporate Affairs, West Africa told Ghana News Agency in Accra on Tuesday that the Bank was aware of the recent judgment but was surprised and disappointed at the outcome.
He said the bank would vigorously pursue and exhaust all avenues of appeal.
The plaintiff in the case, had prayed the court to award a total of $18.7 billion in special and general damages but the court, after considering the evidence adduced in the case, settled on $14 million.
The bank was also slapped with GH¢ 30,000 cost, and further directed the financial entity to pay the amount with interest, with effect from August 2012 to the day of final payment.
The court, presided over by Mr Justice K. A. Ofori-Atta, held that the plaintiff and his witnesses had led ample evidence to warrant the grant of his claims.
The court also held that the bank had subjected Mr Osei to ridicule and humiliation in its refusal to honour the plaintiff’s cheques a number of times.
Mr Osei, a customer of Standard Chartered Bank brought the suit against the bank in May after the bank failed to honour five cheques he had issued to two churches, the Accra Metropolitan Assembly (AM) , the Internal Revenue Service and an outdoor advertising company.
His problem was that the bank had caused him embarrassment, huge financial losses, the potential to face court action from revenue agencies and the threat to lose his property following threats from the AMA to auction his property on the Oxford Street, Osu to defray his indebtedness to the assembly.
The plaintiff said it had at all material times had enough funds in his accounts but the bank kept dishonouring his cheques despite giving the green light to the bank to honour them.
“Defendants consistently refusing to honour plaintiff’s cheques when at all material times the plaintiff’s account with the defendant’s at Osu Branch, Accra was on credit and on request by defendant plaintiff had confirmed that payments be made,” the plaintiff had argued.
In its statement of defence, the bank denied the plaintiff’s claims and said it acted in accordance with best banking practices to protect the plaintiff from fraudsters.
According to the bank, it could not reach the plaintiff to confirm whether or not payment should be made to some payees while at some material times, he did not have enough funds to match the face value of some of his cheques.
The defendant also said the plaintiffs alleged loss of image with the two churches and the projection of future loss as unilaterally determined by the plaintiff for 15 years relating to the Adwoa Adjeiwaa Building and Tema Warehouse were not only fanciful but also ludicrous and unreasonable as they were totally unrelated to the plaintiff’s banking transactions with the defendant.
“The defendant said the position is the same for the other particulars of loss and damages.”
It also denied claims that it had conspired with its officers to injure the plaintiff and his businesses and further refuted plaintiff’s assertion that he had suffered losses because of the defendant.
The bank argued that “the plaintiff’s economic forecast has no bearing directly or indirectly with the running of his personal account with the defendant and the whopping sums of money projected by the plaintiff is a figment of his own imagination”.
The defendant stated among other issues that “the strenuous attempt to connect the plaintiff’s personal account with his so-called three companies is an afterthought, which totally undermines the plaintiff’s conspiracy theory against his own bank (the defendant)”.
Describing the plaintiff’s claims as ridiculous, the bank said “the plaintiff is wrongly allocating blame for his personal problems, which have as now assumed corporate gap,” adding that “the plaintiff is not entitled to his mandatory claim or any at all”.