Court backs NBM in delayed reversals case

Court backs NBM in delayed reversals case

The High Court of Malawi has ruled in favour of National Bank of Malawi (NBM) plc in an appeal case in which two private individuals dragged it to court over delayed reversal of failed transactions.

In civil appeal case number 24 of 2023, private practice lawyer Luciano Mickeus and Henry Chizimba were initially awarded damages by the Dalton Road Magistrate’s Court in Limbe on April 30 2023 for individual failed transactions.

Court documents show that on April 9 2022, both Mickeus and Chizimba attempted to withdraw separate amounts from an NBM automated teller machine (ATM), but it did not dispense the cash despite their accounts getting debited.

The documents show that Mickeus attempted to withdraw K80 000 while Chizimba wanted to withdraw K60 000. However, the ATM dispensed the same cash amounts on the second attempt.

While the bank attributed the matter to a system error with its banking system, the amounts debited were later credited in the accounts of the two after five working days on April 14 2023.

But the two dragged the bank to court to claim damages.

In their arguments, they alleged that they were inconvenienced as a result of the ATM failing to dispense the money and that they had to abandon their normal routines to follow up with the bank about the refund.

The Dalton Road Magistrate’s Court ruled in their favour by awarding them damages. Mickeus got K1.2 million while Chizimba was given K1 million.

The duo’s costs were settled and agreed at K375 000. Cases of the two were, however, registered and determined separately.

But feeling dissatisfied with the lower court’s ruling, NBM plc appealed to the High Court, arguing that the magistrate’s court findings were not supported by the weight of evidence and arguments received from both sides.

And in his ruling on Friday, High Court of Malawi Judge Allan Hans Muhome stated that the two did not have reasonable grounds as regards to their case.

Reads part of the ruling: “This court finds that the respondents [Chizimba and Mickeus] did not clothe themselves with reasonableness in couching their claims. We think that the courts should be indulged with weightier matters than current.

“This court, therefore, allows the appeal in its entirety, save that each party shall bear their own costs.”

Mickeus was not available for comment yesterday while our efforts to trace Chizimba for his comment proved futile as we were unable to find both his number and any social media accounts.

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