Crime and Metro

Court Orders FCMB To Pay N540m Damages To ‘Magu’s Pastor’ For Defamation

A federal capital territory high court has ordered First City Monument Bank (FCMB) to pay N540.5million to Emmanuel Omale, founder of the Divine Hand of God Prophetic Ministry, for defaming his character.

The presidential committee on the audit of recovered assets (PCARA) had alleged that Ibrahim Magu, former acting chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), used Omale to launder funds abroad.

The committee based its report on financial documents made available to the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) by FCMB.

The former acting chairman of EFCC had been accused of purchasing a property in Dubai using Omale’s name — an allegation the pastor denied.

Omale, through Gordy Uche, had sued the commercial bank and demanded N5 billion in exemplary, aggravated, special, and general damages, but the bank resorted to a public apology.

Delivering judgment on the suit marked: FCT/HC/CV2541/2020, Yusuf Halilu, the presiding judge, held that the bank recklessly breached the duty of care it owes to the claimants – Omale, his wife (Deborah), and their church.

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

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

Halilu pointed out that Omale, his wife, and their church suffered irreparable harm to their reputations both domestically and abroad as a result of the bank’s negligence.

He decided that the claimants’ evidence was adequate to prove the bank was negligent.

As a result, the court decided to grant the claimants N200m in general damages, N140,500,000 in special damages, and N200m in aggravated damages.

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