Businessman Sues ECOBANK For Negligence
A businessman has sued ECOBANK Ghana Limited for negligently providing the Korean Embassy with a false bank statement that led to his arrest and detention; loss of profit; injury to his reputation and dignity. Mr Stephen Eric Asamoah, the Businessman, is seeking redress at an Accra High Court over a wrong bank statement issued by ECOBANK purported to be his that ruined a business trip he intended to take to Korea to purchase Korean vehicles and spare parts. He is, therefore, seeking general damages for loss of profit, unlawful arrest and detention, injury to his reputation and dignity, distress, embarrassment and humiliation.Mr Asamoah is further seeking special damages including his legal fees and other related expenses totalling GH¢5,000 with interest from August 28, 2008 to date. In a statement of claim before the court, Mr Asamoah said he was a businessman engaged in the importation of vehicle spare parts and medical and surgical equipment under the business name Stejoy Marketing Services. He claimed that he was a customer at the Osu Branch of ECOBANK, and sometime in May 2008 he applied to the Embassy of the Republic of Korea for a visa to enable him to make a business trip to purchase Korean vehicles and spare parts to Ghana.He said he supported his visa application with a bank statement covering January 2008 to April 2008 that ECOBANK issued to him. In considering the merits of Mr Asamoah’s application, the Korean Embassy wrote to the ECOBANK enquiring about the authenticity of the statement Mr Asamoah had presented. ECOBANK in its response through a letter dated May 28, 2008, negligently misrepresented to the Korean Embassy that the Bank statement submitted by Mr Asamoah was not issued by it and thereby suggesting that the statement was faked or forged by him and thereby imputing that he was a criminal. As a result, Mr Asamoah said, he was refused the Korean visa thereby depriving him of profits he would otherwise have earned from the trip.To add to his woes, the Embassy reported the matter to the Criminal Investigations Department of the Ghana Police Service that in an attempt to secure a business visa, he had presented a statement, which had been confirmed by ECOBANK to have been faked. When Mr Asamoah went to collect his passport from the Embassy he was directed to go to the Police. When he went to the Police he was arrested, manhandled and detained for hours and had to engage the services of a lawyer to secure his bail. He said he incurred other debts and legal fees to the tune of GH¢5,000. After going through the ordeal, Mr Asamoah said, ECOBANK in a letter dated July 8, 2008 addressed to the Korean Embassy, admitted that the information about his bank statement made available to the Embassy was false.In ECOBANK’s statement of defence, it denied most of the claims but said “the regrettable anomaly was occasioned by the printer’s devil”. According to ECOBANK, as soon as its attention was drawn to the error in the statement it had sent, it immediately wrote to the Korean Embassy confirming Mr Asamoah’s original “bank statement as authentic”.