A Federal Capital Territory(FCT) High Court, Abuja, on Tuesday indicted First City Monument Bank(FCMB) for lack of professionalism and false claims against Pastor Emmanuel Omale, and his wife, Deborah, over laundering of N573 million on behalf of former Acting Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mr Ibrahim Magu. The court therefore entered N540.5 million damages against the bank to be paid to Pastor Omale, and his Church, Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministries.
The court’s verdict was sequel to the suit marked FCT/HC/CV2541/2020 and filed by Omale, his wife and the church, over a report the bank gave to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit(NFIU) that claimed the plaintiffs laundered N573 million on behalf of Magu, which was used to buy a property in Dubai, United Arabs Emirate for the former Chairman. The NFIU report was relied upon by the Justice Isa Ayo Salami panel set up by President Muhammadu Buhari to investigate the activities of Magu. Magu was subsequently removed from office and replaced with the incumbent, Abdulrasheed Bawa.
However, in his verdict on Tuesday, Justice Yusuf Halilu held that the evidence before his court showed that the bank admitted an error in its report to the NFIU, of entries in the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry’s account.
The judge further held that the bank claimed that the purported N573million was wrongly reflected as credit entry in Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry’s account by its reporting system, which it recently upgraded.
Justice Halilu further held that FCMB admitted the error, which brought incalculable damage to the reputation of Omale, his wife and their church both within and outside Nigeria, thereby depleting their church’s membership.
According to Justice Halilu, the claimants have provided sufficient evidence to establish a case of negligence against FCMB.
The judge said, “The conduct of the Defendant in this case, clearly from the evidence that has been made out, is certainly careless and negligent; it is certainly not careless and negligent but unprofessional”.
Justice Halilu thereafter proceeded to award N200m as aggravated damages; N140,500,000 as specific damages and N200m as general damages.
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