BDC Drags FirstBank, Travelex to Court



Rhombus Bureau de Change (BDC) has dragged FirstBank Nigeria Ltd before the Lagos High Court, alleging unethical practices in forex transactions.

Travelex Retail Nigeria Limited, the accredited agent of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in charge of disbursing foreign exchange to BDCs was joined as the second defendant.

In the suit filed on its behalf by the law firm of Akin Oladeji & Co, the plaintiff is demanding N25 million as general damages suffered by it because of the refusal of First Bank to credit its account as and when due after the company’s bid failed at CBN’s foreign exchange window.

Rhombus BDC alleged that First Bank and Travelex Retail Nigeria, between them, kept its funds for more than 35 days after the unsuccessful forex bid.

“This act of deliberate delay and unjustified retention of the claimant’s funds impacted negatively on its business such that it had to source funds at huge costs to meet its obligations and run its business,” the plaintiff said in its statement of claim.

On a different occasion, the plaintiff said due to telecommunication network issues, it mistakenly duplicated one of the foreign exchange transactions by crediting First Bank’s account with N6million instead of N3million for the purchase of $8,000.

Rhombus BDC said rather than crediting its account with the N3million excess, the bank held on to the money and that it took the intervention of the CBN to get First Bank to refund the money after holding it for 21 days illegally.

It said it had to mobilise funds from alternative sources to meets its obligation and run its business. “Instead of the 1st defendant to credit claimant with the excess of N3,048,000 which the Claimant paid into an account number 2031316220 it had been misled by the 1st  defendant to believe was the 2nd  defendant’s account, it held on to the funds.”

 It averred that if it was not denied unfettered use of its money as and when due, it would have made profit by deploying the withheld funds to other business transactions.

Rhombus BDC is therefore asking the court to compel the bank to pay the profit it could have made in addition to the cost of hiring lawyers.

It also said efforts to resolve the dispute out of court had failed and that the only option left was for the court to determine the rights and obligations of the parties.