Business News of 2014-04-06

HFC, CAL sued for alleged humiliation

Two persons, who feel humiliated by the actions of HFC and CAL banks, have resorted to the law courts, claiming a total of GH¢1,800,000 in damages.

The action against HFC Bank, brought by a Tema-based businessman, Mr Sebastian Arko Smith, is praying the court for GH¢300,000 in general damages for unlawful arrest, false imprisonment and defamation of character by officers of the bank.

In the CAL Bank case, one Nathaniel Nortey is suing for breaches of his fundamental human rights after an encounter with a policeman on guard at the bank, who gave a warning shot in the bank to carry out his threat to shoot the applicant.

Joined to the action are the Inspector General of Police, the Attorney General and Corporal Benard Frimpong of the Ghana Police Service.

HFC Bank A statement of claim accompanying Mr Smith’s writ said somewhere in November 2013, he went to the Makola Branch of the HFC Bank to withdraw money after he had been given a counter cheque by the customer service person to withdraw money.

According to the statement, barely a week after the transaction, he received a call from the bank that their CCT camera had detected him stealing a phone from the desk of the customer service person who served him.

It said upon receipt of the said call, he immediately abandoned his business and rushed to the bank with a friend to clear the issue since the allegation was an indictment on his personality and integrity as a noble businessman.

It said on his arrival, Mr Smith demanded to have a view of what the officers of the bank claimed they saw on the camera and to his utmost surprise, one of the officers told him in the presence of other customers and his friend who accompanied him that the way he talked even showed that he was the one who stole the phone.

The statement said after that humiliation and disgrace in front of those customers, another officer from the business desk in the banking came out and asked him to follow him to an empty room, where he was detained for more than an hour.

After one hour, he was called to the camera room to have a look at what happened earlier and to his surprise, the camera detected that he only picked a pen with which he filled the cheque and not a mobile phone.

According to the statement, the ordeal he suffered at the hands of the officers of the bank embarrassed and humiliated him in front of all those who witnessed the event. It also said the acts, false accusations and treatment meted out to him by officers of the bank were defamatory and slanderous, and also affected his reputation as a businessman.

CAL Bank

In the CAL Bank case, Mr Nathaniel Nortey claims that he went to the Derby Avenue branch of the bank in Accra to pay some mooney into his account, which he had been operating with the bank for seven years. After the transaction, he was going to move his car when something in a shop across the street caught his attention.

He, therefore, went to the shop and while there, Corporal Frimpong, who was then on duty at the bank, went over to him and said officials of the bank wanted him (Mr Nortey) to move his car away, since he had not gone to the bank to do any business.

According to Mr Nortey, he told the policeman that it was not true and subsequently produced a slip from the bank as a proof but Corporal Frimpong started screaming that he was not interested in his explanation and that he should shut up and move his car.

He went back into the banking hall and asked who had told the policeman that he had not gone to the bank for any transaction, but while there, the police officer entered the hall and started pushing him violently to leave the bank.

“Before I could utter another word, he slapped me in the face and I responded in the same way and he said he was going to shoot me. He cocked the gun and actually carried out his threat by opening fire in the middle of the banking hall while other customers were also transacting business,” Mr Nortey stated in an affidavit in support of his motion.

According to him, the police officer shot not less than three times but he dodged the gunshots to save his life and in the process, sustained gunshot wounds on both legs.

Mr Smith’s case will be heard at the Fast Track Division of the High Court, while that of Mr Nortey will be determined by the Human Rights Division of the same court.