Counsel Corner

November 3, 2011

Unwiling debtor

Unwiling debtor

I helped a close ‘friend raise some amount of money to unable his execute a small contract I didn’t have up to the amount he required at that point in time, so I had to borrow from another friend to add up to what I had. It was however with interest. I had to go the extra mile because the friend was in a dire need.

Additionally, he is a trusted friend so I did not entertain any few of recovering the money. He executed the project in January this year.

The person he did the work for issued a post-dated cheque, but on the date it was to be drawn, it turned out to be a dude cheque as there was no money in the insurer’s account.

He pleaded for time and promised to pay as soon as he was paid some money for a particular contract he executed for his client in the South-East.

The friend that lent me the money with which I assisted the other friend was on my neck so I had to pay him. The issue now is that the person who is supposed to pay my friend has been evasive now. He doesn’t pick his calls anymore and he has not said anything again. We have strong suspicion that he might have been paid the money he said he was expecting and it appears he doesn’t want to pay my friend what he is owing. We are considering reporting the matter to EFCC or the police. Please advise.

Idowu, Lagos.

It is a criminal offence for anyone to issue a cheque when he or she knows that there is no money in the account. It is on offence punishable by terms of imprisonment.

It is however possible that the person your friend executed a contract for had anticipated that the money he was expecting to be paid for the contract he also executed for another person would have been paid into his account hence the post-dated cheque he issued. But by refusing to pick his calls however creates an impression of an unwilling debtor.

The step to take in a situation like this is to get a lawyer to write to him on your behalf demanding the payment of the money owed. If he fails to give a favourable response, your lawyer would advise you on the next line of action. You may decide to report his alleged criminal action to the police for him to be prosecuted. Note that the police are not debt collectors, so don’t think of involving the police in the debt recovery aspect. But if you are convinced that the fellow is out to defraud your friend, then the police may help. EFCC in most cases deal with matter of this nature, but since you said it is a small contract, it may ask you to report the matter to the police.

Still on ATM

DAYO Benson, after read through the answer you gave on the use of ATM card, I have to ask you this why should First Bank make use of ATM compulsory, because the bank charges N100.00 (One Hundred Naira) on any withdrawal below N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira)?




Charging N100.00 (One Hundred Naira) on any withdrawal below (N50,000 (Fifty Thousand Naira) does not imply that the bank has made the use of ATM compulsory. The charge is the normal bank charge which is called commission on Transaction COT.

It is charged by all banks on transaction of that nature. The choice is for the customer to make on either to pay the charge on each withdrawal below that amount or you make use of ATM and you are not charged.

If the use of ATM is compulsory, there would not be an option of withdrawing below N50,000.00 and the charge it attracts.

As I mentioned much earlier on the issue, ATM was introduced to make cash withdrawal easier and more accessible to bank customers.

It is also aimed, I presume, at decongesting banking halls thereby enhancing security in and around banks. I have also mentioned in this column on the issue that an illiterate person who obviously cannot understand the instructions from ATM voice prompt would find it difficult to make use of it.

So, to that extent, use of ATM is not compulsory.